In an open letter to the travel industry, Harold Burke, sales director of the UK Holiday Group, has encouraged the industry to check on its customer protection regulations.
His comments follow the collapse of Group Travel Ltd, a coach holiday company in the West Midlands which ceased trading in January.
The developments prompted a warning to group travel organisers to check financial protection offered by companies when booking. Harold Burke has taken the opportunity to use this as a timely warning to the travel industry, encouraging a recheck of all legal and financial coverage when it comes to group travel.
In his open letter Harold wrote: “As an industry I am proud of what we do, as responsible tour operators, to ensure we work within the guidelines of the European Package Travel Regulations, which are in the best interest of our customers.
“The regulation requires operators like ourselves, selling the package to a consumer, to have guarantees in place that should they, or any of their suppliers cease to trade, the customer gets a full refund of monies paid or the holiday they purchased. It also covers repatriation if the customer is on holiday.”
Harold stated concern over the significant number of group leaders who are booking a ‘package’ holiday for their members by making independent arrangements directly with the accommodation and the transport suppliers without being aware they are in breach of the EU Directive on what constitutes as ‘booking a package holiday’.
“As an industry I believe it is essential that we continue to ensure that associations, group organisers and their members are made fully aware of the legal and financial risks they face when not booking a ‘fully bonded package holiday’”, he said.
Harold concluded the letter by asking that the industry trade bodies and representatives share his concerns.
“Together we can take steps to ensure those in higher authority take measures to cover any loopholes,” he said.
Group Travel Ltd: Update
On its website, the company states that letters to its customers were sent out to arrive by 31st January.
The statement reads: “The letter should be arriving in your letterbox on 31 January. If you have not received a letter from the liquidator by say 5th February and you have paid for a trip / voucher you have not received, please call the liquidator on 0800 2315788.”
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