ABTA president Steven Freudmann has assured grassroot agents they will be fully consulted over the planned shake-up of the association.

Freudmann has outlined radical reforms which will see the Tour Operators’ and Travel Agents’ Councils axed and replaced with an 18-strong board.

A regional council which will act as a forum for independent agents will also be set up.

The plans, exclusively revealed by Travel Weekly on January 6, will be officially announced to regional offices on March 3.

“Myself and other ABTA officials will also attend regional meetings to discuss the plans and gauge reaction,” said Freudmann. “All the views should be known by the end of April when they will be discussed by the board. There is no question of imposing a change from above. We will listen to what the grassroots members want.”

Freudmann said the new set-up will be more accountable and could attract senior industry figures to the association.

“The current board are elected by TOC and TAC members who themselves are voted in by the members. Under the new system, the board will be more accountable because they will be directly elected by members.

“Having one board will also mean less time will be spent on meetings. As well as cutting costs it may also attract decision makers in the industry,” Freudmann said.

n ABTA is urging its members to take part in its year 2000 computer compliance testing that ensures their systems can communicate with each other in the millennium. For details, contact Daryl Nurthen on 0171-307 1996.