Your front page article (TravelWeekly June 21) contains some misleading statements. ABTA’s Board of Directors has not yet decided on bringing in outside consultants. It has asked the chief executive to make recommendations to its meeting, which is held on July 28.

As far as the restructuring proposals are concerned, the board asked for a new, and possibly radical, approach to the structure of the association at its meeting on December 10 1998.

It was recognised by the board at the time that no immediate proposals for changing the activities of ABTA would be appropriate.

However, it was hoped that a new structure would facilitate the streamlining of decision making and allow necessary changes to be implemented with less bureaucracy in the future.

The level of ABTA expenditure is constantly under focus by the Finance Committee, and Iam pleased to confirm that I expect the association to come in within budget in the current financial year.

Furthermore, the board has already approved a budget for next year which leaves subscription rates unchanged for the sixth year out of seven for travel agent members (fifth year out of seven for tour operators).

Although subscriptions will always be an issue with members, our recent membership survey confirmed that the majority of members agree that membership of ABTA represents good value for money. Indeed, only 20 of the 1,761 comments received (1.1%) concerned subscriptions.

This hardly justifies the precipitous action that your article suggests.

Steven Freudmann




n Editor’s note: we made it clear the issue of bringing in outside consultants to help ABTA cut costs was still under discussion and a decision would be taken on July 28. Travel Weekly stands by the facts contained in the story