A new independent travel agents’ group will become the successor to the Triton Travel Group super-consortium, and it has thrown its weight behind Travel Weekly’s Yes Minister campaign demanding a dedicated travel and tourism minister.
The Federation of Independent Travel Agents (Fita) will represent the views of the Triton Travel Group, the super-consortium made up of TTA Worldchoice and Global Travel Group.
Fita has emerged from an original meeting in February, which was attended by 16 representatives from independent agencies including Travel Republic, On The Beach and Holiday Discount Centre.
ITT chairman Steven Freudmann has been named chairman of the group, while Heal was appointed the vice-chairman.
Although it was decided not to create a formal trade body which could have become a rival to Abta, the group will meet on an ad hoc basis to discuss issues that concern them.
Freudmann said: “Fita is the son of Triton in some respects. Triton will evolve to become part of this organisation and lead it. Fita will represent the views of Triton.”
He also backed Travel Weekly’s Yes Minister campaign, which was launched in the March 5 weekly edition and calls for the incoming government to create a senior ministerial post for the travel and tourism industry.
The Yes Minister 10 Downing Street petition has now attracted nearly 600 signatures. He said: “I think the Yes Minister campaign is a marvellous idea.
“It is fair to say that tourism ministers regard inbound and domestic tourism as their portfolio. We have to make sure a dedicated minister’s role includes the outbound travel industry.
“The majority of ministers feel sending people abroad is bad for the UK economy. We need to move away from that and make them realise that we have a huge and dynamic industry.”
Both Travel Republic and On The Beach have already voiced their support for the campaign.
Agents have questioned the value of Triton since it dropped its status as a joint buying group in April 2008. Some believed the group would not continue after Advantage pulled out in October 2008.
Triton members will continue to have access to the Global Travel Group-owned Triton product range and search technology.