Turnover of Abta’s membership has seen a slight increase year on year despite a drop in the number of members.
Members’ turnover reached £29.3 billion for the 2010-2011 financial year, which ended on June 30 this year, compared to £27.3 billion – an increase of £2 billion.
For the same period, the number of Abta members dropped from 1,313 in the 2010 financial year to 1,258 in the 2011 financial year.
Within the mix, agent members fell from 539 to 501 but prinicpal members increased from 321 to 327. Dual members, who operate as agents and tour operators, fell from 453 to 430.
Although the total number of applications was up year on year, from 87 in 2010 to 92 in 2011, the actual number of companies who joined the association fell from 83 last year to 76 this year following the association’s vetting process.
The association said the figures reflected consolidation that has taken place in the travel industry, while the rise in agencies applying to join Abta demonstrated growth in the industry, with businesses reaching a stage in their development when they wanted to join Abta..
Head of communications Victoria Bacon said looking at falling membership numbers alone did not give a true picture of Abta’s size.
“Member numbers are declining year on year but this reflects what is happening in the travel market; there is consolidation and fewer travel companies.
“Turnover is going up, which gives us a steer on the size of the membership and represents the industry. As the number of new applications received each year indicates there are still travel businesses growing and looking to join Abta; new members have often matured to a point where they seek Abta membership,” she said.
The news comes as Abta announced ten new members in September and October; two trading as retailers, six as principals and two in both classes of membership.
The new retailers are Travelpaths and Holidays By Rail, while those trading as both agents and operators are Peregrine Tours and Claridon Travel & Events.
New principal members are: Nortlander Ski Tours; Sunsail Worldwide Sailing; RCL (UK); Celebrity Cruises; Glacius Travel; and Travel Experts.