18 Jan

PTR delay creates difficulties for industry

We’re now in our third week of January and the travel industry is still to see the draft Package Travel Regulations (PTR), ATOL Regulations and ATOL Standard Terms. At an industry seminar this week, a spokesman from the CAA said that they are all likely to be published by mid-February.

The UK Government has missed the EU's deadline of 1 January for publishing the new PTR, and now we're looking at February, less than five months before they are due to come into force (in July), before we see the drafts of the final regulations. This leaves businesses with little time to prepare and presents a significant challenge for the travel industry – a point we're making to Government.

As we are all aware, when it comes to PTR, there is still a lot of work to be done. Once the Government publishes the draft regulations, it will run a consultation for about 6-8 weeks, and will then publish the final regulations after that. It's then over to businesses to implement these changes for the start of July.

It is clear that there won’t be any leeway for the Government on meeting the 1 July deadline for implementation, as this is set by EU law. We are continuing to stress to Government that the time scale is very tight, and the longer the delay, the more difficult it will be for businesses to be ready, so it is critical the industry sees the draft regulations sooner rather than later. 

Once the draft regulations are published, this should give a good indication of what the final regulations will look like and businesses can assess fully what it means for them. As part of the consultation process we will be representing the views and interests of Members to Government – working to influence the final regulations. 

ABTA will also continue to help Members to get ready to comply with the new regulations, by providing an array of guidance and support – something we have been committed to in recent years as the Package Travel Directive has made its way through its various regulatory stages. There is already a lot of guidance about PTD in the Member zone, so it is well worth familiarising yourself with this again, as we wait to hear more from Government. 

One of the other pieces of regulation which has a big impact on the travel industry this year – the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) – came into force last Saturday, 13 January. It was very clear from the media reporting over the weekend that there is a misconception that the costs to businesses for processing card payments have gone down. While the PSD2 won’t be reversed, we are still highlighting to Government the challenge it presents to travel businesses in particular, and the high card charges many of you face. We will be sharing evidence from Members with Government officials in the coming weeks, and reiterating our ask for a review into card payment services. 

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive