After 18 months as ABTA chief executive, Mark Tanzer has unveiled his plans for a more streamlined, more effective trade body.
This is what he was brought in to do and now it is up to members to decide whether they like what’s on offer.
No one who works in travel would disagree that the industry needs an effective body to represent its many and varied concerns. This has been brought into sharp focus recently with the industry fighting a rearguard action on Air Passenger Duty, bonding and the environment.
Even ABTA’s biggest detractors – and let’s face it there are plenty of people who are happy to put the boot in – are agreed that the travel trade needs an effective body that represents and protects its members and is able to champion the industry’s work to both Government and consumer.
So what are we to make of Tanzer’s blueprint? For a start, he has the backing of the board – some of whom were responsible for appointing him. At the most senior level, ABTA recognises the benefits these changes will bring.
And no one can argue against a more efficient set-up. A smaller board that meets more regularly will enable ABTA to act more quickly on pressing issues.
By appointing some board members, Tanzer and the elected directors will be able to change the make-up of the board according to the expertise required. And by appointing one non-trade representative they will be able to bring in different perspectives and skills.
There is likely to be disquiet surrounding the make-up of the board. Although it will be cut in half, Tanzer insists the board will still reflect the membership. But independents may be concerned that their voice will not be as strong. A debate that resolves such concerns over the next month would be better than proposals simply going through on the nod.
Tanzer has the support of his outgoing board and on April 3 we will find out if he has the support of the members.
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