The case for ABTA
ABTA represents more than 1,400 members with 5,900 outlets – including Worldchoice members – which sell 90% of overseas package holidays
ABTA has more than 50 years of branding behind it. A 2008 poll found 75% of consumers recognise the ABTA name
Its profile is swelled by advertising campaigns and hundreds of media interviews each year. The association’s consumer department handled 20,000 enquiries in 2008. Half the calls were to check whether a company was an ABTA member
ABTA members include the major travel companies, swelling revenue and adding their own resources and expertise. The top 10 members provide 20% of ABTA’s income – subsidising services to independent agents
Strength in numbers
A majority of agents are likely to remain ABTA members for the foreseeable future
ABTA may appear costly, but an alternative that is £250 a year cheaper puts the price of the ABTA logo at little more than £20 a month
Independent agents make the most use of ABTA’s services. ABTA’s legal service reports saving one member £2 million
ABTA’s code of conduct and arbitration service ensure good practice and cut potential legal costs
By acting as a regulator in certain areas ABTA saves members additional costs and prevents tighter regulation
Support and guidance
ABTA offers operational support in a crisis, guidance on health and safety and sustainable tourism, helplines on VAT and employment
ABTA employs a full-time lobbyist and lobbies in Brussels through pan-European association ECTAA
The case for TTA Worldchoice
TTA Worldchoice represents 800 agents – 360 in Worldchoice, the remainder in the Travel Trust Association. However, these operate different business models
Worldchoice members are solely independent agents.
ABTA includes traditional agents and online newcomers, tour operators and other suppliers, major groups and retail chains. Worldchoice will not have to deal with conflicting interests
Agents make up the majority of ABTA members, but the ABTA board includes just one elected representative of agents with an annual turnover less than £20 million.
TUI Travel and Thomas Cook both hold unelected places on the board
Listening to members
ABTA’s decision to cut the size of its board and agents’ representation in 2007 went through with the support of barely one in 10 members in a poll.
Worldchoice says its size allows it to listen to members and respond
Worldchoice says it will offer 100% customer protection to agents who want it, including protection against fraud.
ABTA withdrew fraud protection in 2006. TTA members already enjoy this through the TTA’s trust arrangements
ABTA subscription rates rose by up to 39% for the smallest members last year and by an average 34% for consortia members, albeit following a six-year freeze.
Worldchoice says it can undercut ABTA’s subscription rates by at least £250 a year
The TTA has expanded from nothing in 1993 and forecasts a 10% rise in membership this year
ABTA’s membership is in long-term decline
Public relations and lobbying
TTA Worldchoice employs former ABTA head of PR Keith Betton as a freelance consultant
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