'Abta needs to see its members more', says Allard

'Abta needs to see its members more', says Allard

Roger Allard says he will be on a mission to cut costs and reduce red tape if he wins the election for Abta chairman.

The All Leisure Group chairman Allard insists he wants "no breakaway groups" from Abta. However, he suggested Abta needs to spend more time listening to its members.

The ballot for next Abta chairman begins this week when ballot papers go out on Thursday.

Allard told Travel Weekly: "Abta is doing a great job. But as an industry we have been relatively ineffective in speaking to government. We want one broad church if we want to get our voice heard."

Speaking in Abu Dhabi ahead of the ITT conference, Allard said: "I'm aware of the frustration among some members.

"It's not unreasonable [some are frustrated] given the size of the membership. A lot of people think of Abta as it was a long time ago, not of what it is doing now."

At the same time, he said: "A lot of people don't like change, don't understand change. But if you don't shape up for the 21st century you will find business difficult."

He insisted: "Abta is fundamentally important. For example, it has a greater influence on Foreign Office advice than ever before."

Allard said reducing costs is a priority. "The cost pressures people are under are enormous. I want transparency and reduced costs while keeping financial protection.

"Abta may be able to offer better deals. It may be able to offer better value."

He said: "The association has got a lot better. In the last four years it has improved in leaps and bounds. The market has changed and Abta sees the challenge. But it needs to see its members a bit more.

"I want the executive to be more upfront and go to see more people. Abta's members are its customers. You have to know your customer. Listen to your customer."

Allard insisted: "It is important Abta is strong. There are a lot of fundamental changes coming. Abta is more important than ever before. It would be a retrograde step to weaken Abta.

"I urge people to vote and to vote for me. Abta needs to have as big a cross section of the industry as possible. It needs to have clear views."

Allard is standing for Abta chairman against Sunvil managing director Noel Josephides.


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