Published on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Government hits trade with package travel 'bombshell'

The Government has announced that new regulations for package travel holidays will be put before Parliament in just seven weeks' time, leaving no time for further consultation with the travel industry.

Kirsten Green, deputy director consumer policy and enforcement at the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS), wrote to stakeholders on Monday stating that the new rules will be laid out just after Easter.

AITO chairman Derek Moore expressed frustration at the timescale as the industry hasn't yet had any feedback from the BEIS to the six weeks of consultations that closed last September, or indeed any inkling on what it is proposing.

"Frankly, it's a bit of a bomb shell when, as BEIS admits in its letter, 'business and consumer groups highlighted some complex concerns that required further in-depth consideration," said Moore.

In her letter, Green said BEIS had undertaken further work since the consultation, but she did not say what this was or what conclusions it has formed, said Moore.

"It would be really useful to know exactly what they are planning to do (apart from not, it appears, delivering the further Consultation/s that we had expected and which they notably don't mention)," he added.

"And then there is the fact already mentioned that Government has not yet given its response to the consultation carried out last August/September. Ms Green kindly states: 'We will also be providing the Government response to the consultation as soon as possible', but this lack of update so close to the date of implementation does not remotely help the travel industry.

"We would respectfully suggest that, firstly, Government should give the industry its response to the consultation of last August/September.

"Secondly, it would be courteous to let the industry know what the conclusions of BEIS are, having evidently worked on the industry's submissions for the past five months, before it proceeds to lay the regulations at just seven weeks' notice and in the absence of any industry input whatsoever.

"I regret very much to note that it leads one to the conclusion that Government has already decided what it is doing, and has decided not to involve the travel industry further, bar seeking our help in writing the necessary guidelines.  I hope very much that this does not prove to be the case."

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