ATOL Guide launched to help travel agents prepare for reforms

Date: 27 February 2012

Travel agents across the UK can now find out all they need to know about changes to the ATOL protection scheme, using a new guide published by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today.

Improving holiday protection: your guide to how ATOL is changing has been developed as part of the CAA’s ATOL education campaign and will help travel agents to easily understand how the reforms announced by the Government earlier this month will affect their work. The guide is launched today to coincide with the start of the CAA’s ATOL open days, which offer ATOL holders and agents the chance to get one-to-one support and advice on ATOL reform.

The guide covers the key changes to the scheme such as the introduction of Flight-Plus and the new ATOL certificate, which will offer greater protection and improved clarity to UK holidaymakers. A range of case studies are also included in the guide which will help agents to see how the reforms will change the way the holidays they sell are protected from 30 April this year.

Thousands of copies are being distributed to travel agents across the country, and iBook and PDF versions are also available to download so agents can easily use the guide at their desk, at home or on the move.

Andy Cohen, Head of ATOL at the CAA said: “Everyone from senior management to counter staff needs to be aware of how the changes will affect their business, so we are working extremely hard to help the industry get ready for 30 April.

“This simple guide is another step in the biggest industry education campaign we’ve ever launched, and we believe it will really help staff get to grips with the way the protection for the holidays they sell is changing.”

In addition to the guide, the CAA’s ATOL education campaign will also see CAA representatives speak at over 50 events in the coming months. As part of this, ATOL open days offering ATOL holders and agents one-to-one support and advice will be taking place across the UK, whilst further information on ATOL reform is available from a dedicated area on the CAA’s website.

Improving holiday protection: your guide to how ATOL is changing is available to download as a PDF from www.atol.org.uk/reform
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For further media information contact the CAA Press Office on: 0207 453 6030; press.office@caa.co.uk

Follow the CAA on www.twitter.com/UK_CAA

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Notes to Editors:
1. The ATOL scheme ensures people who have booked an air holiday with an ATOL holder are protected if their travel organiser ceases trading – bringing them back to the UK if abroad, or refunding them if yet to travel. However, with the emergence of the internet meaning people now book holidays in different ways, there is often confusion amongst the public over whether holidays are protected or not. To address this situation, the Government confirmed on 9 February that it will move forward with a series of reforms.
2. Included in the reforms is the introduction of ‘Flight-Plus’ – ensuring flights sold with accommodation and/or car hire on consecutive days are financially protected - and new ATOL certificates to help holidaymakers understand how their holidays are protected. In addition, agency agreements will see travel suppliers and agencies sign written agreements confirming their relationships.
3. Details of the reforms were first announced in a Department for Transport consultation last year with further detail included in the CAA’s information paper in November.
4. Following the Government announcement on 09 February, the CAA published an industry update paper setting out details of the reforms. Also included in the paper is a consultation on the ATOL Protection Contribution (APC), on which the CAA welcomes responses from the travel industry.
5. The ATOL guide will be available on the iBook store once it has been approved by Apple for publication.
6. The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of travel company insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint.