19 Mar

Urgent call for government support

ABTA has been in urgent talks with Government ministers and officials throughout the week, as well as working with European trade associations at a European government level, to progress the asks that we set out in our letter to the Prime Minister on Monday. We are in discussions today with senior officials from a range of Departments as well as the CAA and we will update Members when we have more news.

The situation is becoming increasingly critical for our Members and we are doing everything in our power to secure Government support, both in terms of immediate financial assistance and urgent temporary changes to regulations to assist travel businesses while ensuring customer money is protected.  You can see a more detailed summary of our political engagement activity here.

Today, the European Commission updated its consumer guidance in relation to customer refunds, recognising the strains being placed on tour operators.  It’s extremely positive to see that they are encouraging customers to accept credit notes as long as the customer be allowed to ask for a full refund, eventually, if he or she does not make use of the credit note towards a new booking and that this credit note should be covered by appropriate insolvency protection.  We now need the UK Government to follow the European Commission’s lead and confirm a similar approach.  This would be enormously helpful to UK travel businesses and give customers the assurance that they will either get a holiday or their money back.

Our priority has also been to support our Members with their repatriation efforts, and we have been working very closely with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for this purpose. 

We know how hard our Members are working, too, to support customers at what is an exceptionally challenging time.

We will continue to keep Members updated via ABTA Today, news bulletins and the Member Zone of the website.