A supplier’s council has been formed by the Irish Travel Agents Association to act as a representative body for its affiliate members.

The new council is made up of five members – Mary Denton of Sunway Holidays, Niall McDonnell of Classic Collection Holidays, Jennifer Callister of Royal Caribbean, Bev Hart of Bookabed and Alan Sparling of ASM Ireland.

This initiative is being led by newly-elected ITAA board member Alan Lynch, managing director of Cruisescapes and Travel Escapes, who acts as the association’s tour operator representative.

He said: “Part of my responsibility is to review the level of engagement between the association and the various affiliate suppliers who provide product for our members.

“I feel it is vital that, as an industry, we work together to overcome the huge challenges we currently face.

“We are all trying to achieve the same result and I strongly believe that by working as a team, we can achieve this. The level of experience, ability and passion is in abundance amongst the affiliate suppliers that I have asked to join the council.”

Lynch added: “As a first step, we will be gathering information from the affiliate members to ascertain the number of people that are currently employed by the affiliates so that we can include these in our submissions to the government.

“As an industry, we have been very successful to date in bringing our plight to the attention of the relevant departments within the government and we would hope to see the affiliates benefit from the hard work that has already taken place.”

The council will also take on board discussions covering awards ceremonies, events and the association’s annual conference.