Advantage chief executive John McEwan has set out a broad vision for a federation of independent travel agents.

McEwan maintained there was value in the independent sector working together but said there was no intention of creating a lobbying body to rival ABTA or Triton, which the consortium has just left.

He plans to initiate talks with rival consortia to co-operate on common interests such as consumer protection or skills training for new staff.

He said: “There are areas of common interest, but they have to be non-commercial and non-political in nature. I have already spoken to some consortia informally. I am not looking to create another Triton but it is a way of making sure there is not a fragmented approach from the independent sector.”

He admitted he would “let the dust settle” before speaking to former Triton members on the issue, but said he was still in talks with ABTA. Talks were originally initiated by McEwan and Worldchoice chairman Colin Heal for a seat on the board to represent independent agents.

“We are still talking to ABTA about how we can get more engaged in the independent sector, but not necessarily for a seat on the board,” he added.

McEwan claimed Advantage was well placed following its recent departure from Triton.

He said: “It’s behind us now and we are 100% confident we made the right decision [to leave] for the business and our members. We have overwhelming support from members.”

Speaking at the Advantage conference, attended by 500 delegates, half of which were agents, he said: “As far as I am concerned we are in a class of our own.”

McEwan said the performance of the consortium was more important than size in sheer numbers.

The group’s annual turnover is £2.5 billion, of which £1.5 billion is from leisure and £1 billion from business travel.