Advantage 2010: McEwan predicts tough 2011

Advantage chairman John McEwan believes the full impact of the economic downturn will not be felt until 2011.

Speaking at the consortia’s conference in Lucerne he said consumers who had kept their jobs hadn’t been detrimentally affected so far because of reductions in interest rates and therefore mortgage payments.

But he is less optimistic about next year: “We have a new government and with it will probably come tax increases on income and VAT, interest rates are likely to go up to combat inflation.

“So these so far unaffected consumers will start to feel it although thankfully holidays remain high up in the list of important things to the public.”

Under questioning from former pilot and now Monkey Business director John Peters McEwan refused to accept that there were any conflicts of interest between his Advantage role and Abta chairman position.

Peters was revealing the feedback from member opinion surveys in which some suggested the consortia should offer a system of financial protection to negate the need for Abta.

McEwan said the organisations had very different roles to play both of which would benefit members.

He explained: “Financial protection is at the top of the list of priorities for Abta and we are working hard to ensure there is a uniform system in place so that if anyone goes down the cover is there and if anyone is stuck abroad they are looked after and repatriated.

“Every time something happens consumers are still confused.”

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