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SPAA president slams operators’ direct sale tactics

Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) president Brian Potter has urged operators to make a choice between the trade and direct-sell.

Speaking at the association’s 80th annual dinner in Glasgow last night, he said SPAA members needed to take “a serious look” at their relationship with Tui Travel and Thomas Cook.

Thomas Cook’s removal of its Web Match policy had been a “new low” for the operator, Potter said, adding: “Perhaps operators need to make a choice between trade and direct. We don’t need empty promises just to be kicked in the teeth later.”

He also slammed “illogical pricing” in the cruise sector and criticised airlines for offering discounts for TMCs’ clients if they book direct.

Abta chairman John McEwan, who was a guest speaker at the event, urged the industry to work together to overcome its challenges.

He said: “The next three years will be markedly different from anything that’s gone before. The government, no matter which party is successful, will see travel as a soft touch for taxation.”

McEwan also addressed accusations that Abta is too London-centric, saying it was making every effort to look after the needs of agents across the UK.

More than 200 people attended the event in Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza.

SPAA secretary Alisdair Tannahill was given honorary membership of the association ahead of his retirement.

See pictures from the event.

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