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NEWS LOWCOST TRAVEL GROUP: THE FALLOUT


Lowcost Travel’s failure has highlighted the need for greater clarity on consumer protection


Lowcost Travel Group chief executive Paul Evans


Trade united over protection revamp


Industry leaders have called for the rules around holiday protection to be clarified, following the collapse of Lowcost Travel Group.


The Majorca-based company,


which had 110,000 forward bookings, had no Atol licence and was not a member of Abta or Aito. The boss of one of the UK’s biggest travel agency consortiums said it was time for more “clarity and control” over regulation, and for consumers to be better educated on the “importance of protection”. Advantage Travel Partnership managing director Julia Lo-Bue Said said: “The industry doesn’t make it straightforward for customers to understand the importance of being protected and that needs to change.


Lowcost timeline


2012: Atol regulations amended to comply with EU Services Directive


2013, Aug 13: Lowcost Holidays obtains Balearic Islands licence to sell package holidays


Oct 1: CAA identifies Lowcost Holidays UK as “one of 20 largest Atol groups”


Oct 30: Lowcost Holidays UK advises CAA it’s transferring its UK holiday business to Lowcost Holidays Spain from November 1


Nov 6: CAA confirms no Atol protection for Lowcost Holidays Spain bookings in the UK


Dec 18: CAA launches investigation into Lowcost Holidays


“As an industry, I’m sure we’d be galvanised to support a scheme to protect consumers”


“It feels like we’ve gone full


circle because these issues are talked about often. It’s not good enough for people to say ‘we told you so’, we need to act – and the regulations need to be addressed. “We need more clarity and


control. It’s not good enough that this can happen and leave thousands without a holiday. As an industry, I’m sure we’d be galvanised to support a scheme to protect consumers.”


What percentage of bookings had been made through the trade was unclear as Travel Weekly went to press.


But Teletext Holidays chairman WEBSITE: Administration notice


Steve Endacott said: “This will make people revert to the traditional tour operators that have Atol licences. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Atol logo becomes even more prominent than it’s been before.” Miles Morgan, owner of independent chain Miles Morgan Travel, said Lowcost’s failure should prompt a change in the rules. “It raises huge questions for the industry, but one positive that could come out of this is that we might finally get clarity on how customer reassurance and bonding works because it’s a joke,” he said. “I hope somebody in government looks at this and says ‘this is ridiculous’ and sorts it out. It wouldn’t happen in any other industry.”


8 travelweekly.co.uk 21 July 2016


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