Why Travelbag and Travel Republic have quit ABTA

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By Linsey McNeill
13/07/2023
Home » Why Travelbag and Travel Republic have quit ABTA

Dnata Travel Group has confirmed that its two direct-sell brands Travelbag and Travel Republic have given up their ABTA membership.

It follows Lastminute.com’s decision to quit ABTA last week.

Dnata said its trade-only brands Gold Medal, Incredible Journeys, Pure Luxury and Cruise Plus will remain ABTA members.

The Emirates-owned business said removing the B2C brands Travelbag and Travel Republic from ABTA followed a review of its brand portfolio.

It added: “Collectively our fast-growing Gold Medal brand and B2B specialist brands account for a large part of our UK business, and these will continue to work closely with ABTA and benefit from their membership.

“Where our B2C brands are concerned, we feel that having the ATOL bonded protection, together with robust trust accounts, provides customers with the required reassurances they need.”

Travel Republic MD Antonio Fellino added: “In a year when we are celebrating our 20th year anniversary, we are delighted to have very recently seen our Trustpilot score move up to 4.7/5 and Travel Republic rated as excellent. 

“This is great recognition that we are well and truly one of the most highly trusted, customer-rated online travel companies in the UK, and is a reflection of the hard work we continue to put in to deliver exceptional customer service to our customers. 

“Travel Republic has the benefit of having exceptionally strong owners in the Emirates Group, as well as operating its own successful and robust trust account model.  Given this backdrop, we feel that customers receive a high level of reassurance that they are fully financially protected when they travel with us.”

An ABTA spokesperson said: “ABTA remains by far the most recognised and trusted travel association brand, which is why our annual renewal rate is typically over 95% and why we continue to welcome new members.

“It would be unusual for any membership body to have every member renew its annual membership. While we are, of course, disappointed if any member leaves, as a matter of policy we don’t comment on individual decisions.”

However, reputation management consultant and founder of Bloom Communications Phil Bloomfield said: “ABTA deserves a lot of respect for what it does for the travel industry, and the team works very hard behind the scenes to promote and protect its interests. But members are entitled to make their own choices about whether they’re getting value, and these, and other recent departures, beg the question as to whether – in its current form – the organisation is fit for purpose in a world which is significantly different to the one in which it was originally created.”

MD of dnata’s B2B businesses Simon Applebaum confirmed these brands would remain in ABTA.

“Serving travel agents is at the heart of our business, and through our long-lasting relationship with ABTA, we are delighted to continue as members.

“We believe the role of trusted travel advisor has never been more understood and valued and our partnership with ABTA allows us to engage with agents and other suppliers on best practice across a raft of areas from payments to compliance.”

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