16 Feb

Helping members by challenging travel chaos stories 

Stories in the media of ‘travel chaos’ were all too frequent last year, yet many were based on conjecture; what might happen if various issues came to the fore. Spurious speculation is not the business of ABTA when it comes to commenting in the media – it offers no benefit to you, our members, whose number one priority is making sure your customers have a great time and feel they can travel with confidence. 

That’s why in our media work we offer messages of reassurance and counteract unproven claims of chaos. Coming from the leading voice in travel, our work here carries clout.

There have been many examples of this recently. Take the Border Force strikes; headlines predicting turmoil returned last week as the Government warned travellers to expect disruption over February half-term. Of course, no one can say for certain that holidaymakers won’t experience any sort of delay if travelling through the affected ports. However, one of the points we made to the press is that the Border Force strikes went ahead at Christmas without causing delays, as the authorities are experienced in mitigating the impact of such activity. We’ve also been quick to point out that most people will be flying to their half-term holiday destinations, so will be unaffected by strikes. These comments have been featured in the national media including BBC news online, Daily Mirror and Daily Star. 

There has also been a lot in the national media about travel scams, following the sentencing of fraudster Lyne Barlow. There’s a danger that, without having a voice in this debate, some media may inaccurately give the view that such fraud is commonplace in travel – another position which might affect consumer confidence.

We’ve been working to offer reassurance that this type of holiday fraud is rare, but that holidays can on occasion be a target for scams, and so are encouraging people to look out for the warning signs. Media coverage of our message has included interviews on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours and North East ITV News. Highlighting the importance of booking with an ABTA member – whose credentials can be verified on abta.com – has been a crucial part of this message. And it’s one that others are keen to repeat, with national media regularly saying that booking with an ABTA member is the best way to protect yourself when booking a holiday. 

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive