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The Advantage consortium says the prospect of losing one of its biggest members will not harm its ability to negotiate market leading deals with suppliers.

Scottish travel agency Barrhead Travel and Midcounties Co-operative Travel yesterday announced they are to create a new buying partnership called Venture.

Julia Lo Bue Said, Advantage leisure director, said Barrhead, one of its biggest individual members, was excluded from many of the deals negotiations. “There will be no impact at all,” she said.

Bue Said confirmed she knew nothing of Barrhead’s plans despite meeting a representative of the travel agency in Abu Dhabi at the Institute of Travel and Tourism conference on the morning of the announcement.

She said the usual negotiations about the terms of the Scottish agency’s membership of the consortia were ongoing but that the deal with Midcounties had come as a surprise.

Bue Said, who spoke with Alistair Rowland, Midcounties general manager, at length at the ITT conference after the move bacame public and said much of the detail had to be sorted out.

It appears that despite being in the same buying group, described as the biggest in the UK, the two entities will continue to compete.

While the agreement that saw Midcounties join Advantage is due to run out in September, Bue Said said Barrhead could still remain a member of the consortium.

“We do not like to see anybody leave and we are hoping we can reach some sort of solution that will benefit them [Barrhead] moving forward.

“They are a leisure member but also a corporate member and there is cross-benefit for them. Whether you are a big member or a small member, it’s not the driving force to how we run the business.”

Bue Said said Midcounties was looking to take advantage of the Nevis technology that Barrhead has developed.

“It does not negate them being a member of Advantage,” she said. “Barrhead had indiciated they might want to leave but discussions were ongoing about how we might work with them in a differen