THE Truly Independent Professional Travel Organisation has thrown out a second application for membership by British Airways Holidays.
The tour operator initially applied for the long-haul specialist membership category, but when this was turned down it bid for the long-haul beach operator slot instead (Travel Weekly August 16).
TIPTO chairman Warren Sandral said there weretwo reasons for rejectingBAH's attempt to join the organisation.
"Two members objected on the grounds that BAH had a similar product to theirs.
"Also, members believe it to be part of a vertically integrated operation, which has a tour operator, an airline and travel shops. There was a consensus about that," he added.
Sandral said he hoped there would be an opportunity to work with BAH in the future, even though it had not been accepted as a member.
"We don't know how TIPTO will develop over the next year," he said.
BAH head of sales and marketing Colin Whaley said: "We were interested in TIPTO because we are serious about working with independent agents and it is a sector we wish to grow.
"Our own merchandising is being reviewed and we will continue to support any independent retailer that believes it can grow our business.
"With regards to BAH being a vertically integrated company, it should be remembered that British Airways works with all tour operators and, with around 20 retail shops, is not a major player on the high street."
Meanwhile, TIPTO has expanded its list of independent agent partners from 2,000 to 2,500, all of which have agreed to accept regular visits from TIPTO representatives.
The 29 members of TIPTO have each selected 1,000 agents out of the central pool to which they will then market their products.
A TIPTO spokesman said members would make their own individual arrangements to promote their holidays to the multiples.
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