A travel industry watchdog says the latest ATOL reforms do not go far enough to protect holidaymakers and that legislation should be introduced to extend cover to all flights.
The Air Travel Insolvency Protection Advisory Committee (ATIPAC) welcomed the first phase of the ATOL reforms, but said there was much more to do to create "clear and comprehensive" financial protection for holidaymakers.
In its annual report, published today, the Committee supports the introduction of Flight Plus sales into ATOL, and the forthcoming production of ATOL certificates for anyone buying ATOL-protected holidays.
"ATPIAC believe the certificate will give an enormous boost to awareness of ATOL, which is long overdue," it said.
The ATIPAC was established by the Secretary of State for Transport in 2000 to keep under review and provide advice to the CAA, the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust and the Secretary of State for Transport on the financial protection arrangements for air travellers and ATOL customers.
Committee members include representatives of all the main travel trade bodies and independent and consumer representatives, as well as the CAA.
Chairman John Cox said: "ATOL reform is very welcome. But it is a belated recognition that the travel industry has changed beyond recognition in the past twenty years. ATIPAC is clear that there is much, much more to do to create clear and comprehensive financial protection for holidaymakers."
The report went on to say that the outlook for the travel industry during the current financial year remains one of instability created by a number of factors: the volatility of sterling exchange rates, the continuing problems within the eurozone and the effect on bookings caused by the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games.
Moreover, reports of airlines reducing capacity during the summer period could have a detrimental effect on the holiday industry, it said
Increases in air passenger duty and the cost of fuel will add to their woes. "The Committee concludes that none of this bodes well for any short term recovery of the travel industry," said the report.
By Linsey McNeill
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
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