10 Sep

ABTA calls General Meeting to boost customer protection

In response to developments in the travel industry this year, ABTA has called a General Meeting at ABTA’s office at 30 Park Street, London SE1 9EQ at 12.00 pm, on 2 October.  Members will be invited to vote on proposals to change the Articles of the Association which will strengthen customer protection for those booking with an ABTA Member. 

This year has seen a large number of consumers affected when travel agents have failed and the suppliers of accommodation have refused to fulfil bookings that they have not been paid for.  This has resulted in very damaging press coverage for the industry as a whole, and in credit card merchant acquirers requesting additional security from travel companies.

The main change ABTA Members will be asked to vote on is to ensure all ABTA Members take responsibility for money paid by their customers to companies through whom they distribute their travel services. 

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “This is an important point of principle, and the change will bring clarity to Members and customers alike. ABTA Members operate a range of business models, and we are happy to let these flourish. But the principle that an ABTA Member is responsible for money taken through an agent, or sub-agent, applies to all.

The proposed change to our Articles will reinforce the value of the ABTA brand to consumers which is after all an important reason for Members to join ABTA.These are challenging times and it has never been more important for consumers to have confidence in the travel companies they choose.“

ABTA is also inviting members to vote on a proposal to change the qualifications for membership so that applicants for membership or continued membership would be subject to greater scrutiny in respect of previous directorships of failed companies, and on a proposal to provide a greater restriction on the use of trading names that have been associated with failed companies.