Published on Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Specialist operator chastised by advertising watchdog

Opera and dance holiday specialist Travel for the Arts has been rapped by advertising watchdogs for the way in which it promoted trips to the annual Vienna ball.

Advertising watchdogs launched an investigation after two consumers complained that the company's brochure and an e-mail advertising its holidays to a "Vienna Summer Palace Ball" were misleading because the event was held in the city's town hall, not a palace.

The pair also complained that the ad stated clients would be seated in a private area, yet this was shared with another group.

The ASA upheld both complaints and ordered Travel for the Arts not to repeat the ad in its present form.

However, it dismissed a third claim that the company had misled the public by stating they would provide a local tour manager, who turned out not to be a Travel for the Arts employee but a local contractor who also brought her own clients into the "private area".

The ASA said: "We considered consumers would understand the claim that they would benefit from the "services of our local representative or tour manager" to mean that they would be provided with the services of a local representative who had been contracted to guide the tour.

"Because we understood that that was the case, we considered the claim was not likely to mislead and therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code."


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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.