Making sure every agent’s concerns are heard by ABTA is no small task, but one Daniele Broccoli is keen to tackle.
As the owner of Britaly Travel, a small agency in Peterborough, Broccoli believes he is in the perfect position to represent the ordinary member.
“This is the perfect time for an independent agent to become chairman of ABTA. I have been an agent for 25 years; I work on the front line, so I can push the views of the small agent,” he said.
Hitting back at critics who claim he does not have enough experience for the role, Broccoli said: “Travel has been my whole life. Having my own tour operator means I understand the challenges from both sides.”
However, he is at pains to emphasise he can deal with problems on a larger scale, too. “I understand the issues facing tour operators of all sizes, from fluctuations in currency to the green issue.”
Broccoli left school at 17 and spotted an opportunity for an Italy specialist agency in Peterborough.
“The local priest used to sell flights to the Italian community, and when he left Peterborough, there was a hole in the market,” he said.
Broccoli went to London to learn his trade and, with help from his father, set up Britaly Travel in 1984. He has also established his own Italian tour operator, Typically Italian.
Britaly Travel joined ABTA in 1985 and Broccoli quickly became an active member. He became a chairman of the Eastern region in 1998 and was on the ABTA council of regions until 2006. Having been elected to the board three years ago, he feels taking up the chairman role would be a natural step.
Under his chairmanship, Broccoli claims ABTA would do more to help agents under increasing pressure from the recession.
One of his proposals is to allow members to spread the cost of their ABTA subscriptions.
“If agents can pay half their fees in July and the rest six months later, it would help with cash flow,” he said.
Lobbying on issues such as Air Passenger Duty (APD) and the £1 levy increase is a key priority for ABTA, but Broccoli believes a different approach is needed.
“The ABTA regions should be re-introduced to get agents talking. We should be doing more work with MPs and trying to make changes from the ground up,” he said.
Too much of agents’ time is spent on red tape, and not enough on selling holidays, he said. The association should be doing more to lessen administrative work, Broccoli said.
He believes ABTA should be working with the CAA to introduce an umbrella ATOL.
“We need to streamline the bonding issue, as it can be a minefield for agents.”
ABTA is going in the right direction but needs to do more – and quickly, he said.
“It has been a busy year with the merger [with the Federation of Tour Operators] and now we need to concentrate on helping agents, and lobbying.”
Broccoli added: “It’s time we had a female presence on the board to make sure we have every perspective.”
This week, Broccoli will set to work spreading his message to members via email and his own website votebroccoli.co.uk.
So why should agents vote for him? “I am always at the end of the phone and I’m completely approachable. There will be no dirty tactics from me: what you see is what you get.”
Broccoli’s top five election promises
- To make ABTA efficient in dealing with members’ concerns
- To make the association efficient when dealing with government issues
- To avoid red tape
- To not let the association be dominated by any large company
- To restore members’ pride in ABTA
Video: Daniele’s message to Travel Weekly readers
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