CONFERENCE REPO Abta’s flagship annual event was reformatted this year as a one-day virtual forum,

Dnata to evaluate payment structure in light of Covid


nata Travel UK will “change the way it works” after Covid and offer a “suite of choices”

in the way it takes payments. Confirming dnata would not

“insist” on direct payments from customers, chief executive John Bevan argued some agents might prefer if it did. He said some homeworkers

would rather do that because they already run separate accounts for their customers, explaining: “If the tour operator takes the money, where the contract’s with us, then we can just [pay] the commission to the agent.” Bevan said dnata had “lots of

ways” to credit-check agents and would “only work with businesses where we know we’re insured for the volumes and the pipeline monies”.

We all need to sell

more holidays, so we need to make clients feel confident that their money is safe

He said: “We need the right

arrangement for both sides. We all need to sell more holidays, so we need to make customers feel confident that their money is safe.” Bevan said the “data piece” he

vowed to implement after the collapse of Thomas Cook, whereby dnata Travel would make it compulsory for agents to pass on clients’ contact information, “was not quite in place”. But he said it was “still in our plans” and the rationale for it was even more

important because of the pandemic and shutdown of borders. Bevan said operators had been

forced to reassess partnerships after Covid had exposed risks around the implementation of the Package Travel Regulations and Foreign Office (FCDO) travel advice, and called for reform so the PTRs control every element of a package. Noting that, pre-Covid, “everyone

aligned” to FCDO advice, he said that this summer, after Spain was removed from the travel corridor list, “certain airlines carried on flying and they did nothing wrong” because “they’re not under the same regulations”. “What that showed is that the

PTRs, for a tour operator to adhere to, need to control every element of the package,” he said. “The low-cost airlines have their own rules.”

Guevara outlines key demands of Job Recovery Plan

The industry “can’t afford to not travel until a vaccine becomes available”, says the chief executive of the World Travel & Tourism Council. Gloria Guevara believes action must be taken by this

Gloria Guevara

winter, adding that the “timeline was crucial” as she outlined the WTTC’s 100 million Job Recovery Plan, presented to governments on October 7. She said the plan contained 12 commitments from

the private sector. These included offering flexible booking conditions to allow changes without fees and ensuring all travellers have Covid insurance. But Guevara said: “The private sector can’t recover

100 million jobs alone.” She called for “low-cost” and “very efficient” testing

before departure so only those with negative tests board aircraft. And she called for the removal of blanket quarantine policies, which she said were “not helping” and “impacting the economy”. “We have to start this recovery path,” she said, adding

that it was “very painful” to have “so many different protocols around the world”. She said a long, U-shaped recovery, like that after

9/11, could be avoided, adding: “It is possible to have a faster, V-shaped recovery if you act in a co-ordinated way.”

8 22 OCTOBER 2020

John Bevan

Read more Abta 2020 reports: O News, page 11

O Business, pages 38-40

Investors tip ‘unprec in sector to fuel mer

Investors predict consolidation in travel, but owners were warned to be careful about the businesses they merge with or buy. Accountancy firm BDO held a debate

about M&A activity, which panellists agreed was likely to see an upturn next year as firms became financially distressed. Seamus Conlon, chief executive of

TourHub and TourHound, and co-founder of the Rebound Consultancy set up to advise firms during the Covid-19 pandemic, said: “There will be lots of companies looking for money and looking for liquidity. You can put businesses together, but you have to be careful.” He advised firms to merge with

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