In its 2016/17 annual report published today, the Air Travel Insolvency Advisory Committee (ATIPAC) has supported Government plans to implement the new EU Package Travel Directive (PTD) which is due to come into force during 2018.
The PTD has been a main focus of the Committee's activity over the last 12 months and members welcome the wider definition of what constitutes a package, along with new provisions, which require holiday companies to provide clear and comprehensive insolvency protection information to consumers, both before and after purchasing their holiday.
The Committee believes that basing the new requirements on the tried and tested Air Travel Organiser's Licensing (ATOL) structure is sensible and practical as it ensures that existing arrangements are not eroded. Moreover, this provides stability to the travel industry and reassurance to holidaymakers that financial protection continues.
In the short term, the Committee is concerned that there is ignorance within the travel industry of these impending changes and, with Brexit negotiations continuing, believes many in the industry think nothing will change. With this in mind, the Committee believes that Government still has an important task in ensuring the travel industry is fully aware that the Directive will be implemented in the UK by summer 2018.
John Cox, Chair of ATIPAC, said: “The Committee welcomes the introduction of the new Package Travel Directive and particularly the enhanced information on protection for holidaymakers.
“However, the Committee is very concerned about how the new concept of Linked Travel Arrangements (LTAs) will work, particularly as protection only applies to part of a holiday.
“While extending consumer protection rights to LTAs may appear to be a step forward, the problem of defining an LTA and explaining the definition is likely to lead to consumer confusion about which part of their holiday has been protected.
“Furthermore, unless travel operators get very clear guidance about which holiday components can be sold as LTAs, the Committee fears that some traditional package holidays could be mis-sold as LTAs, leading to a travel protection scheme which is inconsistent and results in serious consumer detriment.
“Consequently, the Committee strongly recommends that the Government sets an unambiguous definition of an LTA that differentiates it from holiday packages, and provides both consumers and the travel industry with clear guidance."
The ATIPAC annual report can be found here: http://www.atipac.org.uk/Annual-reports/