Plans to set up a rival trade group to Abta are unlikely after a number of large independent agents chose not to go ahead with membership, Travel Weekly understands.

A total of 16 representatives from the UK’s largest agencies attended a meeting in London at the end of last month organised by Institute of
Travel and Tourism chairman Steven Freudmann.

The group was initially conceived to focus on lobbying but later developed into a potential alternative to Abta offering bonding. Potential members were asked to pay a £500 joining fee.

However, it is understood several of those attending have decided not to go ahead.

On the Beach financial director Geoff Wood said: “An issue has not arisen that would merit setting up a rival group to Abta, but that’s not to say an issue may not arise in the future. Our view is that the Abta response to the Department for Transport’s ATOL consultation is a good reflection of what needs to be said. When we have needed Abta, it has been very supportive.”

Global Travel Group managing director Dave Clayton, who also attended, said the meeting had not been as relevant to him as Global Travel Group is not a member of Abta. He said: “Our view is that there is no need for another group.

“If people feel Abta has changed to represent the large operators, they should look at changing it back to what it was.”