Political engagement, chargebacks and travelling against FCDO advice
Political engagement on Save Future Travel Coalition
We are engaging with government and political figures on a daily basis – putting forward the case for support for the travel sector, and for agents and tour operators in particular. Earlier this week I spoke directly to the Chancellor and explained the deep crisis that ABTA Members have been in since the Government’s initial advice against travel in March of this year. I made it clear that Government health policies have effectively prevented our Members from trading, and that the case for support is at least as strong as for other sectors of the economy forced to close down.
At the same time, ABTA’s Luke Petherbridge has been in discussion with the Department for Education regarding the ban on school travel and we have both contributed to the Global Travel Taskforce as we push for an effective testing solution to minimise quarantine requirements.
We know that, among the many challenges thrown up by the pandemic, one that has proved particularly damaging to travel agents is chargebacks on credit and debit cards. We know this is creating enormous problems for some Members, at a time when cash-flow and bookings are low, and the appeals process is not working as it should. We are asking Members to submit evidence to us on their experiences of chargebacks, which we can use in our engagement with UK Finance (the representative body for the credit card companies), as well as HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Read more here.
Travelling against FCDO advice
As you will be aware, throughout the pandemic ABTA has held firm that package holiday customers are entitled to a full refund when the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to their destination. But we recognise that during the COVID-19 crisis some customers may wish to travel against Foreign Office advice. If they do decide to go ahead with their holiday, there are important measures Members should take for the protection of the customer and the business. These are explained in our new guidance note, which is available here.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive