Published on Wednesday, October 26, 2011

ATOL reform delayed until April

The travel industry has suceeded in persuading the Government to delay its ATOL reform deadline from January until April.

The Minister of State for Transport Theresa Villiers said it accepted that the industry would have insufficient time to make the necessary preparations to comply with the new requirements.

"This is partly due to the time needed to update IT systems and put in place the processes required to enable businesses to identify when a Flight Plus holiday has been formed," she said.

"I expect to make a further announcement before the end of the year about decisions on the other ATOL reform issues in the consultation."

ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said: "We are pleased that the Government has listened to our concerns, and those of the entire industry, on timescales: the January 1st implementation timetable had become untenable.

"This shows how important it is for our members, and the industry as a whole, to put our views to the Government in a robust way.

"While we support the current proposals as a first step towards improving the system of financial protection, the inclusion of holidays sold by airlines is an essential second step.

"Further, there are still important areas regarding the principles and practicalities of the reforms that need to be addressed by the Department for Transport and Civil Aviation Authority, we look forward to continuing to work closely with them on these.

"With a December announcement now expected by the Government, travel businesses must be given enough time to make necessary preparations, even with an April implementation timetable."

By Bev Fearis

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The recent insolvency of Low Cost Travel Group, one of the large players in the travel industry had a big impact on the travelers, hotels and all related players from both wholesale & retail arms. There were about 27,000 people on a holiday who had booked through the company comprised of a €200 million wholesale arm and €500 million OTA / retail arm.