This week we received a letter from the Government telling us that the final Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) will be published after Easter – which is just three months before they are due to be implemented on 1 July.
The UK Government missed the EU's deadline of 1 January for publishing the new PTRs, and it will now be April before industry gets the final regulations. This very tight timescale presents a significant challenge for businesses to be ready on time – a point we have been making to Government.
We will be working hard to make sure Members understand what the regulations mean for their businesses and the steps they need to take. Existing guidance is already available through the hub on abta.com, which we advise members look at now, as it will help with preparations ahead of the final regulations. Once the final regulations are published there will be updated guidance notes, webinars and an event specifically on what PTR means for travel agents, and we will also discuss PTRs at the upcoming regional meetings which you can sign up for now.
While there will be no further consultation on the PTRs, the Government does intend to work with stakeholders, including ABTA, to develop guidance that will help businesses to understand what the regulations mean. It will also publish its response to the original consultation, which will hopefully give an indication of the Government’s thinking around some of the issues where further clarification is desperately needed – such as Linked Travel Arrangements.
We will be taking every opportunity to engage with the Government over its guidance, and to make sure that they understand the pressure the difficult timeframe is putting on UK travel businesses.
It’s also worth remembering that the PTRs are just one piece of the jigsaw, the industry is also still waiting for the consultations on ATOL Regulations and ATOL Standard Terms, and we understand the intention is still to publish these consultations this month. We’ll update you when we hear more.
As we’ve said many times already, 2018 is a big year for the travel industry in terms of implementing new regulation. We now know that the PTRs will be published just weeks before the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into force on 25 May, so we really encourage businesses to make sure they are ahead of the game in terms of implementing GDPR, in order to avoid dealing with two big pieces of regulation in one go. There is extensive guidance and support available on abta.com to help your business get ready.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive