By law, every UK travel company which sells travel including flights and flights only, is required to hold an ATOL, which stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence.
If a travel organiser with an ATOL ceases trading, the ATOL scheme protects customers who had booked holidays with the firm. It ensures they do not get stranded abroad or lose money. The scheme is designed to reassure consumers that their money is safe, and will provide assistance in the event of a travel company failure.
ATOL was first introduced in 1973, as the popularity of overseas holidays grew. After a number of travel company failures left people stranded, the UK Government realised consumers required holiday protection should firms in the unregulated travel sector fall into difficulties.
The ATOL Regulations are currently under review by the CAA and Government at this time. A series of Consultations with industry stakeholders are being launched by the CAA regarding the way financial protection is provided for ATOL protected holidays, the amount of the APC that should be payable and the extent of the CAA’s enforcement and licensing powers. As an ATOL Franchise Holder, ABTOT is liaising with the CAA and its Members regarding the proposed reforms.
Reforms are not likely to be in place before March 2024 and we anticipate that the Franchise ATOL will be much more visible – anyone with a SBA ATOL should already be considering a move to a Franchise ATOL – lower fees, twice the Passengers able to be carried and five times the associated turnover, plus reduced reporting and reduced financial commitments usually attach to a Franchise ATOL.
How we can help Travel Businesses
ABTOT has been a CAA Franchise holder since 2017 which enables ABTOT Members to apply for an ATOL through ABTOT Membership without having to meet the CAA’s increased financial criteria.
ABTOT ATOL Franchise Holders benefit from reduced application fees and reduced APC payments. Franchise Members may require additional bonding for their flight inclusive packages, subject to underwriting assessment, as well as an insurance backed Travel Bond for their non-flight packages. The ABTOT team will help with your ATOL application and quarterly declaration submissions and as the ABTOT ATOL Franchise is guaranteed by travel bonds, the administration is simple and straightforward enabling you to focus on selling holidays not constantly declaring them.
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