Abta chairman calls for crackdown on firms selling holidays without protection

Abta chairman calls for crackdown on firms selling holidays without protectionBy Chloe Berman

Abta chairman Noel Josephides has called for a crackdown on holiday firms selling in the UK without financial protection after two consumer travel exhibitions highlighted the extent of the practice.Josephides and Aito chairman Derek Moore visited this month’s Destinations show in London and discovered several companies selling unprotected holidays.

Trading Standards officers also attended both the Destinations show and The Adventure Travel Show, at London’s Olympia last month, after receiving complaints from consumers.

Josephides said some companies were based overseas but had representation in the UK.

Some firms had Atol licences but no protection for non-licensable product, while others admitted they could not afford an Atol or Abta membership.

Others claimed they didn’t need protection because they sold tailor-made holidays, not packages.

Writing in this week’s Travel Weekly, Josephides said: “It was a real eye-opener, demonstrating the extent of the problem that our specialist operators face. UK regulators need to be aware that their woeful lack of policing of many companies selling holidays in the UK is putting the travelling public at risk.”

Moore said Aito was working with Trading Standards on the matter. “I was surprised to see how many companies were selling holidays illegally – some realised they were doing it and some didn’t.

“Trading Standards are aware of the problem – they want details and they will consider prosecution.”

Moore called for agents to report any competitors trading without protection to Aito or directly to Trading Standards. “Aito is happy to have a chat with them and explain the intricacies that they might not understand. We would prefer to talk to people and offer them advice.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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