The candidates for next Abta chairman have outlined their differences in election addresses published in Abta Today.
All Leisure Group chairman Roger Allard has issued a call for unity, saying: “I don’t like people breaking away. I want us to act as one powerful body.”
His opponent, Sunvil managing director Noel Josephides, has declared his aim “to make the consumer the focus of everything the association does”.
Allard warns: “The government would like to walk away from providing a guarantee to the Air Travel Trust and leave it to our industry to sort out.” But he says: “I want to de-burden members where possible.”
Josephides agrees: “I don’t believe the UK government or EU Commission intend to make our lives any easier.”
However, Josephides also argues: “Many smaller members feel Abta does not always speak a language they understand – that the association has become too corporate. My aim is to dispel this notion.”
The ballot begins next week with the association due to send out voting papers next Thursday (June 6).
A Travel Weekly ring-round of Abta members found a degree of indifference to the result, with one agent member saying: “I don’t think the election makes any difference.” Another said: “Neither inspire me.”
Josephides told Travel Weekly: “One of the difficulties Abta has is that only about 30% of members have any interest. I hope we can spice it up a bit and galvanise people into taking an interest.”
An Abta spokeswoman said: “We want people to be involved and encourage them to vote. It’s an important election.”
The ballot will be conducted by independent agency Electoral Reform Services.
Abta confirmed 1,211 members are entitled to vote, with some – such as Tui Travel and Thomas Cook – having more than one vote. Tui Travel has 21 and Thomas Cook 11.
A number of medium-size companies, including Sunvil, also have several votes.
Voting will be postal ballot only and papers must be returned by June 28.
The Abta board has opted not to allow online voting on the grounds of cost. Read the candidates’ full election addresses here.
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