Association of Independent Tour Operators agents could soon be sharing training and commercial deals with two industry consortia and a training organisation.


AITO Specialist Travel Agents chairman Barry Moxley said although detailed plans are yet to be made, talks are under way with the Elite and Advantage consortia and the Truly Independent Professional Travel Organisation concerning potential joint initiatives.


He added: “All three have expressed an interest in working with AITO and [its] agents. They recognise we are a group of high-quality agents.


“We’re waiting for them to thrash out any proposals they have for us to work closely.”


Advantage commercial director Julia Lo Bue-Said she is meeting AITO chairman Derek Moore next week to discuss setting up commercial deals with certain AITO operators, while shared training sessions with AITO agents could be to the benefit of all.


She said: “The retail market is going through a tough time, there has to be a real relevance in any training session for agency staff to attend.”


Elite general manager Nigel Ham, who attended the AITO agents’ overseas conference last week, agreed shared training events could benefit Elite members. He added: “We have a lot of commercial agreements with AITO members anyway but we could do more.”


Moxley said any deal with TIPTO would address the need to attract more AITO agents to training events, which have occasionally suffered lower attendance as agents tackle an increasingly difficult market.


He said: “There may be opportunities for us to hold joint events. The feeling among agents is we all recognise we need to do more training.”