The Competition and Markets Authority is the UK’s competition watchdog responsible for making markets work well for consumers, businesses and the economy. It enforces specific rules to protect businesses and consumers in the travel sector from certain harmful practices and wants to remind you of the ones specific to the travel industry. These rules followed investigations some years ago into this sector by the CMA’s predecessors, and include:
- If you are a tour operator who sells foreign package holidays, you cannot prevent travel agents from offering extra incentives to customers looking to buy your holidays, either through agency agreements, or informal arrangements. For example, you can’t tell a travel agent to stop discounting one of your holidays. For more detail, click here
- If you are a tour operator you cannot tell a travel agent to offer incentives on your holidays to match those of your competitors. For example, you cannot insist that a travel agent offers a discount on your holidays to match the discounts it is offering on a competitors’. For more detail, click here
- If you are both a travel agency and a tour operator, with a market share as a travel agency or tour operator of over 5% in the UK, you should ensure that the links between the travel agency and the tour operator parts of your business are made clear to customers when they book. This will only apply to a very few large businesses in the sector. For more detail, click here
- If you are either a travel agent or a tour operator you cannot charge customers extra if they do not take out holiday insurance directly with you. For more detail, click here
If you run a travel agency or tour operator business, you should make sure that you are complying with all of the above rules where they are relevant.