Last week ABTA held its 19th annual Travel Law Seminar, hosted by Natwest. Just under 200 delegates and speakers attended the conference across the two days, making it the largest event in its history.
The programme included a very impressive line-up of speakers, and the subjects covered a wide range of issues affecting travel businesses now and in the future, including how Brexit will affect the new Package Travel Directive, consumer rights, airline operations and the movement of tourists and business travellers.
With so many changes ahead, all who are in the business of running or advising travel companies need to be more informed about how things might change and more creative when it comes to dealing with that change.
The aim of the conference was to help guide delegates through these changes and make sure that the issues that the industry will need to address over the next few years were on the delegates' agenda and that the industry has an understanding of how it might set about dealing with them.
Brexit and the Package Travel Regulations were the first areas tackled on the agenda. The afternoon of day one focused on the problems that can arise because customers might have particular accessibility needs; extraordinary circumstances might affect the holiday; and indeed customers themselves might actually cause the problems. All of these situations need to be handled properly which requires an understanding of the relevant rules and regulations.
One area where travel companies have seen a massive rise in claims has been gastric illness and we looked at how that has come about, and what is being done to address it as well as the case law behind it.
As well as the travel specific issues, all businesses are facing changes in how they market to their customers, in employment law and in ensuring that they don’t fall foul of international sanctions when making payments to businesses overseas. We explored all these areas and speakers provided useful advice on what to look out for and what would be coming down the line. Cyber-security is also becoming an increasingly common issue and so specialists provided some useful advice which looked at how companies can avoid problems and deal with them if they do arise.
The conference came to a close with an update on VAT / TOMS and our annual case law update.
Thank you to all our speakers, our event sponsors Natwest and Cork Bays & Fisher and all the delegates that contributed towards two days of discussion and debate. The planning for next year’s 20th Travel Law Seminar will be underway very soon.
Here is what some of the delegates said about the event:
“Well informed speakers summarising an extensive range of topics, all of which are timely considerations” - Leila Edwin, Customer Service Manager, Villa Plus.
“Enlightening and challenging for the future” - Peter Jenkins, CEO Founder, Sun-Hat Ltd.
“It’s a great event to keep informed on new regs, laws and cases to assist us” - Emma Pugh, Customer Relations Manager, Broadway Travel.
Find out more about ABTA's Conferences and Events programme at abta.com/events.