On Holiday Group chief executive Steve Endacott has called on ABTA’s new chairman to commit to approaching government to review the £1 levy scheme to protect the industry.

Endacott also believes ABTA should set up its own insurance policy, to ensure consumer financial protection is offered for company collapses across the retail and dynamic packaging sectors.

Read more on the fight for the ABTA chairmanshipThe £1 ATOL Protection Contribution levy replaced the traditional ATOL bonding scheme of financial protection, run by the Civil Aviation Authority, in April last year. However, the levy does not cover airlines and, to date, the government has ruled out adding the levy to air fares.

Endacott said: “I want ABTA to get the £1 levy issue back on the table. It’s the only way to sort out financial protection. Everyone is ducking the issue. If the government can increase Air Passenger Duty, I don’t understand why it cannot roll out the £1 levy to deal with repatriation across all airlines.”

He added: “What is the point of ABTA if it doesn’t provide consumer protection? I can understand why it cannot take the risk [of providing financial protection cover], but it could get an insurance policy that covers agency collapses and financial protection outside the ATOL scheme [for dynamic packaging companies].”

The recent failure of agency Freedom Direct, following last September’s failure of the XL Leisure Group, has only served to destroy consumers’ faith in financial protection offered by the travel industry, he said, with many holidaymakers directed to credit card companies to recoup their money.

He added: “The ATOL scheme was designed for tour operators. The big gap is in the retail sector. I want it compulsory that ABTA offers financial protection, because ATOL is destroying its brand integrity and ABTA is destroying its brand integrity. I don’t want either ABTA candidate to get in unless they promise to sort this out; the current hierarchy is not dealing with it.

“As members, we have the opportunity to vote. This election is not about being big or small or about David and Goliath; it’s about who will do the job required.”

ABTA said an insurance policy was an option. A spokeswoman said: “We are not closed to the any of these suggestions, and we are more than happy to get constructive proposals like this.”

What do the candidates think about protection? Travel Weekly asked them five key questions about ABTA’s future…