02 Mar

Share your views on ATOL reform with us

One of our areas of focus right now is the CAA’s request for information around its proposed ATOL reforms. Part of that work is gathering views from a wide range of members – and other parts of the travel finance sector – in order to be able to provide detailed feedback to the CAA on what its proposals would mean for travel businesses. We’re keen to hear from all parts of the membership on this important topic.

To help get your views we are holding a video conference call next week, on Tuesday 7 March from 10am to 11.30am, specifically on ATOL reform. ABTA’s Rachel Jordan, Director of Membership and Financial Protection, Luke Petherbridge, Director of Public Affairs, and Simon Bunce, Director of Legal Affairs, will provide an outline of the CAA’s proposals and our thinking so far. You’ll also hear some of the insights gained from our Financial Protection Focus Groups (more on those below) and have the chance to ask questions. You can sign up for the conference call here.

Another way members can share their views is via our survey – which you can find here. The deadline for responses is tomorrow, Friday 3 March. The survey takes only around 15 minutes to complete.

I mentioned earlier that we’ve been running Financial Protection Focus Groups. There have been three sessions so far, which have included ABTA member travel agents and tour operators, as well as financial services providers, merchant acquirers, bond providers, a Financial Failure Insurance provider and a trust provider. They have been a good forum to help develop an understanding of what the proposals could mean for travel businesses and travel finance providers. 
The workshops have focused on three aspects of potential ATOL reform: segregation of customer monies, variable APC, and pipeline protection. The themes that have been arising are that the flexibility of financial protection options is crucial. However, segregation of customer monies and/or variable APC could be problematic for most. Those involved in the workshops want to understand what problem the CAA is trying to solve through this - and we at ABTA echo that point. Attendees have been keen to note that there’s a dependency on financial services companies to provide solutions (e.g. trust accounts, etc.) to the regulatory requirements that may come out of this review.
Discussions around ATOL reform have continued today at ABTA’s Travel Finance conference, where Michael Budge, Head of ATOL at the CAA, provided an update and joined a panel discussion about the proposals. 
As I said at the start, we’re keen to hear from as many members as possible, so please do respond to the survey and join the special video conference call. 

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive