ABTA members' fears remain unaddressed

ABTA members' fears remain unaddressed

The Attack on me by Stephen Freudmann, Ian Reynolds and Stephen Bath (Travel Weekly July 19) says much about their sensitivity to any expression of members' concerns. In an article which made clear our support for ABTA, Imentioned some of the concerns that my members had expressed about ABTA. My response to the various points raised by the gentlemen concerned are as follows.

After two years, ABTA had not made a single offer to increase the 50% allowance on Applicable Risk Turnover for Travel Agent BondReplacement Scheme - hence my members' frustration.

My comment aboutcommission in respect of TABRS was based upon ABTA's Consolidated Income and Expenditure Account. For example, for 1997 it included a figure of £916,698 for profit commission on travel agents' captive subsidiary. Is that not related to TABRS or did I make it up? My members'concerns on fines related to trivial errors only such asmissing the date of a return by one day.

Had Stephen Bath bothered to read the article he would have seen that I said: "On the basis of head offices, ARTAC comprises 25% of ABTA's travel agents' membership". So his comments about distortion are totally incorrect.

I did not claim that ARTAC should have an automatic place on the board, what Isaid was that independentconsortia should berepresented in their own right.

The fatuous remark by Stephen Bath about thinking myself better than the chief executive officer of Thomas Cook is nonsense. Ihaveneither the time, nor theinclination to be a member of the ABTA board. I have always encouraged our members to back ABTA. The hysterical response to my article isdisappointing. It would have been more helpful if they had addressed my members' fears.

Colin Heal OBEChairman and managing director ARTAC Worldchoice

Peterborough

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