ITMA members threaten to quit over ATOL criteria move

The ITMA’s decision to amend the association’s membership criteria (CIT, April 2003) has come under strong criticism from some of its members. Some agencies are rumoured to be considering resigning their membership after the ITMA voted to extend membership to event management agencies that do not hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL). The vote took place at an extraordinary general meeting held last month. The move is designed to extend the scope of the association to include those companies whose primary remit is not travel-related, but P&MM director Nigel Cooper said the jury was still out on whether bigger will mean better. “While I’m fully supportive of the ITMA’s moves to create a stronger body to drive the industry forward, I’m not sure how these changes will do that,” he commented. All ATOL-bonded agencies currently undergo strict financial vetting by the Civil Aviation Authority. Several members of the ITMA have expressed concerns that in removing this financial regulation the association will suffer from a lack of information relating to the financial health of companies applying for membership in future. ITMA chairman Roger Harvey pointed out that all future members will be required to sign up to the ITMA Code of Practice, which covers standards of client care, financial responsibilities and ethical business relationships. “To have significant influence the ITMA needs to become truly representative of the broadest spectrum of corporate event and performance improvement agencies. I believe that in doing away with our outmoded financial entry requirements we will be going a long way towards strengthening the association,” said Harvey. l The closing date for entries for the 2004 ITMA Awards is 17 October 2003. The categories and their criteria have been reworked, leading to fewer categories overall and a greater proportion of the judges’ marks being allocated to the effectiveness of a project. For more information contact Samantha Graham on 020 8267 4145 or email sam.graham@haynet.com.

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