As we go to press with this year’s Your Year at ABTA, I would love to be able to say that the political crisis around Brexit that has embroiled the UK for the past two years has finally been resolved. However, we are still in the midst of enormous uncertainty about the future.
Like many other industries, the travel industry has been working hard to continue to trade successfully through this prolonged period of uncertainty. And, thanks to our industry’s resilience and adaptability, most Members and Partners that I speak to say they are optimistic about the future, despite the immediate challenges.
Since the Referendum result in 2016, ABTA has focused on three priorities in relation to Brexit: one, ensuring the voices of our Members and the travelling public are heard by the political decision-makers in Westminster and in Europe; two, helping our Members to prepare, whatever the outcome; and, three, ensuring the public – whether for leisure or business travel – feel confident to book.
More detail is set out in this year’s Report about how we have gone about this.
Whatever the political situation, our Members want to get on with the business of selling holidays and travel arrangements, and I’m pleased to say that we’ve made progress with a number of other initiatives during the year, which support them in doing so.
2018 was another year of regulatory change and we have been active on Members’ behalf on a number of fronts. The volume of fraudulent holiday sickness claims has fallen enormously since 2017, thanks to our work alongside Members to target this issue and achieve regulatory change.
Also a significant milestone, the revised Package Travel Regulations were finally introduced in July 2018 and our aim in the run up to this date and beyond has been to ensure that Members are armed with all of the most accurate and useful guidance to ensure their businesses are able to adapt.
Trust and the role of the travel expert was the theme for our 2018 Convention, held in Seville, and we have used this theme to guide our 2018/19 Travel with Confidence consumer advertising and social media campaigns, highlighting the benefits of booking with an ABTA-approved travel company.
In a year of so much uncertainty, I am pleased to say that ABTA was voted the UK’s most trusted travel scheme by members of the public, so the trust and assurance that ABTA membership provides feels more important than ever.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive