Abta’s 7% fee increase divides members’ opinion

Abta’s decision to increase membership rates by a headline figure of 7% drew a mixed response from the trade.

The subscriptions hike for 2024‑25 marks a return to pre-pandemic methods of assessing members’ businesses and means some agents will pay more or less than 7%.

Some said they were being asked to pay more than double the headline figure, due in full on July 1.

Pole Travel director Jill Waite said: “My subs have gone up by more than 15%. It’s getting expensive to be in Abta. We’re paying for a lot of ancillary services that are not relevant to us. I still have minimal staff, am still paying back a bounce-back loan, and we’re all facing higher bills.”

Other agents felt less concerned. Spear Travels group managing director Peter Cookson said: “It’s fair that it is pro-rata to turnover and it’s a relatively small amount in the scheme of things.”

Bailey’s Travel managing director Chris Bailey agreed: “I don’t think it’s a lot in the context of everything else we pay; holidays have probably gone up by 12% or more.”

Abta said members with the highest rises in turnover since the pandemic would have the biggest hike in subscriptions.

Head of membership Danny Waine said: “By reverting to using the latest submitted annual turnover from members, one-third will have a lower subscriptions payment than last year.

“We believe this is a fair approach to deciding the contribution each member makes.”

The association stressed the hike in subs should be seen in relation to its decision during Covid to reduce fees by 50%. Abta said this meant it had had to take £3 million from its reserves, subsequently incurring a loss, which was now being recouped over an extended period.

It said it believed the number of members repaying government-backed loans was now “a minority”.

Last year, several Abta members criticised Abta for hiking fees by 8.5%, saying it did not take into account post-Covid pressures.

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