Alan Wardle will take up the role in December, reporting to chief executive Mark Tanzer.
He joins Abta from the charity NSPCC, where he has held the role of head of policy and public affairs for the past five years.
Abta said Wardle had “considerable experience of public affairs, policy, government relations and political campaigning”.
Previous roles include director of public affairs at Stonewall, and programme director of public affairs at the Local Government Association.
Prior to that he was in the civil service where he held various policy, finance and private office roles in the Department for Work and Pensions.
In Wardle’s new role, he will lead Abta’s public affairs team as the association continues to work with Westminster and Brussels legislators on regulations impacting travellers and the travel industry.
Mark Tanzer, Abta chief executive, commented: “I am delighted that Alan is joining the team at Abta. The work of our public affairs team in building and maintaining strong ties with government and other political opinion formers is essential for our members and our industry, and Alan’s experience in this area will be a welcome addition.
“In the wake of the recent Brexit referendum, this is especially important and we look forward to working with Alan to ensure that the travel agenda is at the heart of future negotiations.”
Wardle added: “I am looking forward to ensuring Abta’s voice and its members’ concerns are heard as part of the upcoming Brexit negotiations.”