Abta has issued a statement denying that an ‘association with an assocation’ has been set up by online travel agencies and dynamic packaging providers.

Members including Travel Republic and On Holiday Group were expected to announce details of a new group within the association this week, following discussions at Abta’s Travel Convention.

Plans to form a new group came after online agents claimed Abta was not lobbying on their behalf to combat potential changes to the Package Travel Directive, which the OTAs suggest would outlaw the agency model.

The proposed changes to the Directive have not yet been published, but there is concern it could be broadened to include dynamically packaged holidays.

However, Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer today issued a statement denying the existence of such a group and insisting all parties are working together.

Tanzer said: “Abta is working closely with its online travel agency members and other members who are active in ‘dynamic packaging’ to influence and manage the potential impact of the new Directive.

“This is part of Abta’s normal operating process, and we have not set up an association within an association. There are pressing lobbying goals which require Abta members to pull together, and we look forward to working with all Abta’s members to carry the case to Brussels.”

He added: “Abta has been fighting for the interests of its travel agent members since the Package Travel Directive consultation opened in 2009.

“In particular, Abta has argued strongly in Brussels that pure retailers should not pick up any tour operator liabilities; that agents should be able to put linked, ‘dynamic’ arrangements together while remaining agents; and that non-Abta organisers putting arrangements together via clickthroughs should have the same responsibilities as Abta members.

“Abta’s position is transparent and clear, and we shall continue to make these points on behalf of all our members.”