Bath Travel boss and former ABTA president Stephen Bath has come out in favour of John McEwan for the ABTA chairmanship role.

He is the latest to come out in support of one of the chairman candidates, which include Advantage boss John McEwan and Britaly Travel director Daniele Broccoli.

McEwan already has the support of operators including Cosmos, TUI Travel UK and Virgin Holidays, and high-profile supporters such as The Co-operative Travel managing director Mike Greenacre.

Industry sources say a large number of Worldchoice and Independent Options members will lend Broccoli their support. Sunvil director Noel Josephides, who nominated Broccoli for the role, has already said it was vital that a small retailer heads up the association.

Bath, joint managing director of one of the UK’s largest miniples, said McEwan’s career at Thomson and Thomas Cook and leadership experience, as well as his current job with independent agencies at Advantage, gave him the right credentials for the role.

He said: “One of the most important things for ABTA is that the big companies, which pay the biggest subscriptions, stay in the organisation. They will be more impressed if it is chaired by someone who has wielded considerable power in their career.

“Another important aspect of being chairman will be presenting at the convention, and John is an excellent public speaker. He also has the authority to chair the board and demeanour to demand respect.

He added: “If he was a big tour operator man I would say it would be difficult [for him to take this role] but he is a travel agent man.”

Bath said his main concern under the new chairman was member subscriptions. “Subscription hikes should not be on the table because ABTA has saved money by moving to new premises and got the Federation of Tour Operators on board, while ABTA’s Guernsey subsidiary is profitable and can keep subs from rising for several years to come.”

For more on the election go to www.travelweekly.co.uk/abtarace.