ABTA has dropped plans to use a national ballot to fill all nine travel agents’ seats on the association’s new board following opposition from the regions.

The U-turn follows a meeting at Newman Street where grassroot agents insisted five of the board members should be selected from the new 11-strong council of regions.

A national ballot will still be held to elect the four remaining places.

Midlands regional chairwoman Sue Foxall said: “The council should elect five of its members to serve on the board without the need for a national ballot. After all, the chairmen represent the region.”

ABTA chief executive Ian Reynolds said the views will be discussed by the board.

“We thought a national ballot would be the most democratic way forward but we always said that our members set the agenda,” he said.

Foxall added the association may have to compensate board representatives or risk deterring quality people from becoming involved with ABTA.

“If someone is chairman of their region, on the council of regions and also on the board their business should be compensated or they should receive attendance fees,” said Foxall.

In a separate move, the regions agreed that consortiums should not be granted an automatic place on the board.

Meanwhile, ABTA revealed that agents will pay a subscription rate of £500 for the first £500,000 of turnover and £7 for every additional £100,000.

On scheduled rail, coach and air tickets agents must pay £3 for each £100,000 of turnover.

Previously agents paid subs based on the number of shops.

A forum is being held on June 22 to discuss the shake-up with tour operator members.