Abta chairman Alistair Rowland has confirmed that more than 100 former Future and Freedom Travel Group members have joined other member businesses.

Speaking at the close of Abta’s Travel Convention in Tokyo on Wednesday, Rowland said: “Abta has now accredited two thirds of the independent travel companies previously working under the Freedom and Future umbrella arrangements within Thomas Cook UK with other Abta member businesses.

“This has contributed to the survival of more than 100 independent businesses and many hundreds of jobs.”

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He also announced: “We’re seeing hundreds of experienced Thomas Cook staff take up new opportunities in other businesses.”

And Rowland revealed the Abta Lifeline appeal for funds to aid Thomas Cook staff in need had passed £61,000.

He told the Convention: “It’s been really touching and gratifying to see the industry rally round to support colleagues.”

Rowland said: “The biggest test for our industry is how we respond. People may forgive failure, but they are less forgiving if you don’t deal with the consequences in the right way.

“We need above all to make sure as an industry and as individual businesses we put the customer first – recognising that while the failure of a company can’t always be prevented, we can do a huge amount to protect and support customers.”

He added: “Enormous progress has been made in the process of repatriation or providing new arrangements for customers. Now the CAA and Abta are moving to the process of providing refunds.

“Good progress has been made in ensuring that at least some of the thousands of people employed by, or whose livelihoods relied on Thomas Cook, have a more certain future.”

Now he said: “There is an urgent need for a full consultation on airline insolvency regulation.

“We need travel businesses to focus on their business models and really understand their exposure and the contractual arrangements they have in place.”

MoreFull coverage from Abta’s Travel Convention in Tokyo