A leading member of the Association of Travel Agents (ATA) believes the group has achieved its objective.
On Holiday Group chief executive Steve Endacott hailed Tuesday’s announcement of proposed revisions to the Package Travel Directive (PTD) by the European Commission as “90% of what we wanted”.
Endacott said: “I’m gobsmacked.” But he suggested ATA would not disband until the final form of the revised directive has been established.
ATA was founded by a group of mostly online travel agents (OTAs) after last October’s Abta Travel Convention following a row over Abta’s lobbying on the PTD in Brussels.
Endacott described the PTD proposals as “a workable compromise”.
He said: “They [the EC] are happy for agents to remain agents as long as there is a principal in the process and I believe the EC will leave Flight-Plus.
“Most of the nasties have gone. We expected a lot of ‘You have to do this’, but it’s not that tight. I would say we’re fairly happy. It’s practical – a 90% win.”
Endacott said: “We are cautiously very pleased. We always wanted Flight-Plus to remain. We believe we’ve achieved that.”
But he added: “We are getting our lawyers to go through it.”
Endacott said: “Would we have achieved this just through Abta? I don’t know. We’ve done an awful lot of lobbying. I don’t care who gets the credit.”
He added: “I can’t see us winding up the ATA before we achieve the final objective. I’m not sure it won’t be needed again. But we have achieved its core objective.”
The ATA has presented itself as more than a single issue campaign.
Its members include On Holiday Group, the LowCost Holiday Group, Travel Republic, On the Beach, the Travel Network Group, Hays Travel and Barrhead Travel.
Abta has also welcomed the PTD proposals claiming the European Commission had listened to its views on retaining agency status.
The assocciation always denied ATA claims that it had not been lobbying in favour of agents retaining their status during the PTD reform process.
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