ABTA Offers Checklist for Consumers Booking Holidays

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), a UK-based travel agency association, is offering a new checklist for travellers.

The ‘Your Protection Checklist’ advises consumers on the holiday booking process and offers guidance on the documentation required for safe travel. The list will be updated from time to time to reflect the changes brought in by the government through reforms, and will also include the ATOL financial protection scheme.

Mark Tanzer, the ABTA chief executive officer, said, ‘ABTA welcomes the implementation of ATOL Certificates as a helpful step forward in providing consumers with evidence of their protection under the ATOL system of financial protection and also for streamlining the ATOL claims process.

However, there is still much confusion about what holiday arrangements are or are not protected by ATOL and therefore what paperwork consumers should expect to receive. ATOL certificates are only evidence of ATOL protected holidays.

ABTA estimates that around 50 percent of holiday arrangements sit outside of the ATOL scheme. Some of these will be ABTA protected, for example cruise and rail holidays, some may not be protected at all. Your Protection Checklist will help holidaymakers to understand what to look for and what documentation they need. We also advise consumers to always check what is protected when making a booking.’

ATOL is a UK based scheme that offers protection to UK holidaymakers in case the travel company is unable to meet its responsibilities. All travel companies in the UK that sell air tickets must be licensed under the ATOL scheme.

ABTA has warned travellers that holiday packages offered by airlines are currently exempt from ATOL scheme, a fact that most customers who buy such packages in the UK are unaware of.

Association of British Travel Agents Announces New Guidelines for Travellers with Reduced Mobility

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), a UK-based association for the travel agency industry, has launched new guidelines to improve travel for people with reduced mobility.

The guidelines, prepared in collaboration with the UK Civil Aviation Authority, will aim to provide an improved air travel experience for people with reduced mobility, and will offer information and advice to travel agents regarding how to make travelling a more comfortable experience for these people.

European law (Regulation 1107/2006) allows all passengers, with reduced mobility to access travel assistance, free of charge, when they fly. Disabled travellers now have to advise airports in advance of their need to access travel assistance, in order that the authorities can organise resources to ensure that the passengers have a stress-free journey.

Nikki White, the head of destinations and sustainability, at ABTA, said, ‘Delivering a good travel experience to all customers is a key priority for our Members. It can be deeply distressing for passengers to arrive at the airport and not have access to the assistance they require.

By working together we have been able to develop practical guidelines that will help ensure a smooth and seamless experience for passengers with reduced mobility, from collecting the right information at booking to ensuring the resources are in place when they arrive at the airport.’

The new guidelines include the booking process for accessing travel assistance, and procedures after the booking is made and at the airport.

Sandra Webber, CAA director of consumer support, said, ‘Travelling, if you have restricted mobility, can be especially challenging and stressful without good planning and effective processes from airlines and agents. The CAA believes that pre-notification is the key to airports and airlines providing PRMs with the assistance that best suits their needs.’

ABTA Launches Love Summer, Love Travel Initiative

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), a UK-based association that promotes the travel industry in the UK, is running initiatives to raise the travel awareness of consumers in the age group of 18 years to 34 years.

ABTA is initiating activities in the summer to develop consumer awareness of the motivational and entertaining side of travel. It is participating in three university summer festival events at Portsmouth University on June 2, 2012, to promote travel, through fun experiences.

The association has also launched a Love Travel Facebook page, offering interactive experiences to young travellers by means of initiating ideas, providing inspiration and offering travel tips.

Victoria Bacon, the association head of communications, said, ‘ABTA has a very strong brand recognition among all consumer age groups. Research shows that they tend to associate us very strongly with values of trust, security and authority. ABTA stands for choice and expertise as well as protection, and this is a message that resonates particularly strongly with younger audiences. The aim of this campaign is to raise brand awareness of ABTA’s offer to consumers, highlight the huge variety of our Membership, and encourage people to look for the ABTA logo when they book. We hope as many members as possible will ‘like’ us on Facebook and get involved.’

ABTA currently has membership strength of around 1,300 members, and is represented at around 5,000 retail outlets and offices in UK. The association aims to offer a cooperative leadership to its members in addition to promoting sustainable tourism.