Roger Allard and Noel Josephides go head to head in the election for Abta chairman next month. Ian Taylor asks them what they stand for
“I understand more than a bit about travel agencies. I’ve been a small tour operator and larger operator. I’ve a good understanding of the industry and what needs to change, and I have support from various people in the industry. I’ve been on a lot of boards in my time, including PLC boards.”
“Abta needs to represent the whole membership, including the bigger tour operators and online travel agents (OTAs). I don’t like people breaking away.”
On consumer protection
“I’d like to find a way to bring costs down while maintaining protection for consumers. A lot of Abta members are now double-protected, but if most of your business is covered by credit card [protection], why double bond it?
“I want to de-burden members where possible. I don’t want more bonding charges. I want to reduce costs and red tape. There is a lot we can do. I take a pragmatic view. We can look at insurance. What I don’t want is the industry being clobbered by more cost while those outside the Atol scheme benefit.
“Flight-Plus is important. A lot of people were against it, but what’s the alternative?”
“Abta has changed dramatically since 2007. I’m impressed by Mark Tanzer and the executive team. Abta is run as a proper business, but we do need to keep costs down.
“There is a broad membership, including OTAs and traditional tour operators and agents, and I want to work with the executive to bring the association into the 21st century.”
“I’ve a lot of respect for Noel. I’ve known him a long time and would be happy to work with him as chairman. Noel is a good person to stand. But I believe we need a broader view.”
“It has been in my mind a while. I know the industry well. I can do as good a job as anyone. I want to see the Abta symbol mean more.
“I’m probably more in contact with the grass roots of the industry. I feel their problems because my company is of that size.”
“I have my views, but the chairman’s job is to get the best possible deal for the industry and the best protection for clients.
“I’m aware big businesses would be more nervous of having me as chairman than Roger, but I’ve no intention of running Abta another way.
“I really am quite a reasonable man. I know what being chairman entails: you have to work with the industry as a whole.”
On consumer protection
“Roger’s view and mine are almost identical, but we may express things differently. I’ll work towards a level playing field. Flight-Plus was always an interim step, but if the European Commission says it’s OK [in proposals to revise the Package Travel Directive], Sunvil and hundreds of tour operators will say ‘This is how we have to go’. We would be mad not to. At the moment, we don’t feel Flight-Plus complies with the directive.”
“Belonging to this association is going to safeguard a lot of businesses, a lot of jobs.
“The financial security, the respectability, everything that goes with Abta is going to be increasingly important.
“Abta has very good people but is not appreciated by everyone. A lot of people don’t understand how much is being done. One of my aims is to change that.”
“I would have no problem working with Roger as chairman. The industry is important to Roger and me.”
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