A delegation lead by ABTA Chief Executive, Mark Tanzer and including senior representatives from Thomas Cook and TUI, has just returned from a lobbying mission to Brussels to persuade European policy makers of the pressing need to introduce a new Directive on Tourist Accommodation Safety.
ABTA and the FTO launched three independent expert reports on tourist accommodation safety at a special dinner held in the European Parliament on 18 November hosted by UK MEP, Linda McAvan. The FTO had commissioned reports into three key areas of tourist accommodation safety affecting UK holiday makers abroad: gas safety, fire safety and public health and infections.
The reports found that there is an uneven implementation of current safety standards across the EU; an urgent need to better understand the number of tourist accommodation incidents across Europe by better data collection in the first instance; and a strong case for the introduction of a new Directive on Tourist Accommodation Safety to ensure that everywhere in Europe has the same high standards when it comes to gas and fire safety and public health co-operation.
The delegation also met with Arlene McCarthy MEP, the former chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Affairs Committee in the European Parliament; senior figures from the European Commission and representatives of the travel industry in Brussels to make the case for why the time is right for new common standards on tourist accommodation safety.
The Brussels delegation visit follows the launch of the gas safety and public health reports in the Houses of Parliament last month.
Mark Tanzer said: “This project was initiated to demonstrate that tour operators are working in a very uneven European safety market. For too long the uneven application of safety laws across Europe has been accepted by the European Union. Our message in Brussels is that we need all tourist accommodation in Europe to hit minimum safety levels and we will continue to push for a new Directive that brings standards up to a common, acceptable level.”
Linda McAvan MEP said: “I am pleased to support the ABTA/FTO initiative to improve tourist accommodation safety. We heard at the dinner that introducing new common standards is a long process that could take a decade. This means it is vital that legislation is started as soon as possible. I will continue to support ABTA and the FTO in their lobbying efforts and am calling on other MEPs from across Europe to back the campaign that fellow UK MEP, Arlene McCarthy, and myself have been leading in the European Parliament for a new Directive on Tourist Accommodation Safety.”
The Authors of the reports were: Gas Safety, John Gregory - Lead Consultant at Gas Safety experts CORGI. Fire Safety, Stewart Kidd – a respected expert in hotel fire prevention. Public Health, Professor Rodney Cartwright - expert microbiologist.