Industry veteran Keith Betton has been brought in, on a part-time basis, to raise the TTA’s profile among consumers. Taking the title of consumer communications consultant, he will focus on increasing the organisation’s share of media coverage.
Betton spent 20 years at ABTA, where he acted as a spokesman in crisis situations including 9/11 and the 2004 tsunami.
He gave 39 TV interviews last August alone during the now-infamous ‘liquids on a plane’ fiasco, when terror scares prompted the airline industry to limit carry-on allowances.
Betton left ABTA last September shortly after the group resigned from the Office of Fair Trading’s code approval scheme – of which TTA is still a member. He claimed that ABTA’s consumer protection is now ‘slightly flawed’ owing to a lack of insurance against travel agent fraud.
‘If a customer lost money due to travel agent fraud, ABTA no longer guaranteed they’d get their money back,’ said Betton. ‘It no longer meets the OFT quality standard so it resigned. The TTA does cover fraud, and that needs explaining.’
Betton becomes the main media spokesperson for the TTA, the smaller of the two industry bodies.
‘There’s a huge opportunity in the daily news media for comment from the travel industry, and the TTA needs to be there,’ he said.