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Abta Travel Convention 2008: Lessons learned, post-XL Leisure Group collapse

October 12, 2008

So the Abta Travel Convention is now over, and I’d mentioned I’d take a look at the news. So – what was discussed?

Answer, a LOT. But the first thing that I noticed from coverage in the trade media was the prominence of consumer protection. This is an area set to dominate the headlines up until Christmas.

The was a hot topic because of the XL Leisure Group collapse, which was the third largest tour operator (after Thomas Cook and Tui Travel).

Most holidaymakers were financially covered, as they had booked their holiday with a travel agency that had an Atol (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence). However, many had taken a “dynamically packaged” holiday, and so would have used perhaps just flights through XL Flights, for example.

So the issue was raised at Abta how to make sure everyone on the same flight is covered, effectively putting financial protection in the hands of the government.

All, and that means ALL, travel firms should pay a government levy, was suggested

Therefore, no confusion for the general public over whether they are protected. Perhaps the best way forward?

The message overall from all this – book with a travel firm that has an Atol.

Secondly, and more a short term reaction, the responses to the XL collapse include travel firms quick off the mark to reassure the public that booking with them will always be safe.

Thomson and First Choice have launched a prime-time TV campaign advert (more here).

The Advantage consortium meanwhile is to send out 500,000 magazines to homes loacted near its branches, sometime in the first half of 2009.

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