Advantage 2010: McEwan tips rise in Abta umbrella membership

Advantage is talking to potential new travel agent members for its umbrella-Abta membership scheme designed for retailers who are not able to meet the association’s financial criteria.

The scheme was launched last year as the consortium sought to broaden its membership base to include start-ups or existing businesses that needed a foothold in the industry.  

There are currently just two members in this scheme but Advantage chief executive John McEwan said he was confident it would soon expand to incorporate 35 locations.

Travel agents that take advantage of the membership scheme become, in effect, branches under the Advantage Abta membership. 

“This is about saying to people who have bought a business or a new start up but who may not be able to satisfy the financial criteria of Abta you can be a member of Advantage.

“They effectively come in as a branch member of Abta and we provide back office support and the guarantees that Abta requires.”

One of the two agents in the scheme was at this weekend’s Advantage conference in Lucerne.

Destinations was formed by two former colleagues of a previous travel agency that went out of business, McEwan said.

“They have been very successful,” he said. “But they would not have been able to go to Abta and put an application in in their own right because they would not have the track record.”

The umbrella-Abta membership scheme is based on a trust account model and was officially launched at the end of last year. 


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