John McEwan’s victory in the ABTA chairman election could signal a return to the association guaranteeing 100% financial protection for consumers buying from its members.

The Advantage boss won the closely fought battle against Britaly Travel director Daniele Broccoli on June 10, by a margin of only 8 percentage points. McEwan gained 54% with 303 votes, and Broccoli gained 46% with 253 votes. A total of 556 votes were cast, accounting for 40% of the ABTA membership. McEwan said his first priority will be to get up to speed with the ABTA directors and management team.

Speaking in Dubai, where he has been attending the Institute of Travel and Tourism Conference, McEwan said he will focus on three key areas.

“First, we need effective lobbying on behalf of the industry. ABTA should lead in that, but not just lobby for ABTA. The association should act as a catalyst for developing a common industry voice.

“Second, we need to get to grips with consumer financial protection. At the moment it is a mess, and the consumer is caught in the middle. I would like to think we could extend financial protection. But any consumer buying a holiday through an ABTA agency or tour operator should be protected.

“Third, I want to ensure we have unity across the membership, ensure there are not divisions between different sections of members. ABTA could be really powerful if everyone pulls in the same direction.”

McEwan added that Broccoli fought a good campaign, and he would look forward to working closely with him.

Broccoli, who is on ABTA board, responded to the election result, saying: “I am looking forward to working with John.

“I am disappointed. I know I lost, but I felt as if I had won with all the support out there.

“I am still the voice of the travel agent, and I am still as determined as ever to represent the members.”

 

Video interview

Watch John McEwan’s response to winning the chairmanship on our ITT Conference video player…