Consortia Worldchoice and Elite Travel Group have clashed following news Elite is seeking to recruit Worldchoice members.

Elite is hoping to ­recruit about 50 new members  and believes many of these will come from Worldchoice ahead of itsmerger with the Travel Trust Association, now in its final stages.

However, Worldchoice chairman Colin Heal has denied Worldchoice members would want to join a smaller consortium and said “not one member” had mentioned jumping ship to join Elite.

He dismissed Elite’s plans to contact Worldchoice members as part of its recruitment drive as “an act of desperation“. He said: “Elite’s subscriptions are cheap but their commission levels are way below those of Worldchoice.”

The Worldchoice/TTA merger will benefit members rather than drive them away, he added. “I don’t think our members will be so interested in an organisation that has had three general managers in the last 18 months. Many of our members have 10,000 shares and will be getting £27,500 when we merge and will be strong ­agencies in what is a tough economic year.”

However, Elite marketing and public relations director Peter Buckell responded by saying Heal was “out of touch” with the other consortia.

“Elite commission rates are almost identical to Worldchoice with mainstream operators and suppliers,” he said.

“That is why a number of quality former Worldchoice agents have joined Elite Travel Group. Also, I doubt if Worldchoice can offer itsmembers 25% commission on a number of leading cruiselines and worldwide hotel stock.”

Elite members benefit from better cashflow because its central payment system is fortnightly as opposed to Worldchoice‘s ACAS system,which is weekly, added Buckell.

An extraordinary general meeting on the Worldchoice/TTA merger is due to be held on September 3.