The Federation of Tour Operators has drafted a new code of practice providing comprehensive and clear cut guidelines for the safe provision of land transport arrangements. With safety standards varying widely worldwide, the FTO code incorporates years of experience with best practice lessons gained in many countries to provide much needed consistency.
ABTA’s FTO group will be the first to implement the code and work is ongoing to ensure that all FTO codes are built into ABTA’s health and safety services to the benefit of the entire membership.
The code is the first to apply to all land transport arrangements provided by tour operators’ suppliers, such as transfers and excursions, rather than purely to coach travel. Once the guidelines have been circulated to transport providers they will be given a period of time to familiarise themselves with and implement the guidelines and then a detailed audit will be made to ensure that implementation has been successful. Companies will then be graded and suggestions made for necessary improvements.
The FTO expect that the majority of land transport providers used by its members will have implemented the code and been audited within the next 12 months. In addition to auditing the condition of transport vehicles the code will cover areas such as checking drivers’ licences and ensuring adequate and regular rest breaks.
The code has already been welcomed by FTO members and tourist boards as an essential tool to improve road safety. As a recognition of this, FTO staff have been invited by tourist boards to help roll out the code with local transport providers.
Andy Cooper Director General of the FTO and ABTA Head of Development said: “This code is intended to close the safety gaps in the provision of land transport created by widely differing standards worldwide. Feedback from our members and tourist board partners has been very positive and we look forward to being able to provide access to the code to the entire ABTA membership in due course”.