ATOL Call for Evidence
On 23 May 2013, the Department for Transport (DfT) launched a Call for Evidence as part of their review of the implementation and funding arrangements for the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) system.
This Call for Evidence will run until 15 August 2013 and focusses attention on the financial protection arrangements for holidays, how they are funded, fundamental questions about licensing, and the organisation of the UK’s scheme of protection.
This Call for Evidence is part of the Government’s wider programme ATOL reform. They have listed their key objectives of the Call for Evidence as:
- Putting the financial protection arrangements for the travel industry on a robust basis;
- Deregulation, whilst also ensuring the industry takes more responsibility for protecting its own customers’ money;
- Reducing the Government's financial exposure.
It is important to note that this review will also include the wider implementation and funding arrangements for the Package Travel Directive. The UK Package Travel Regulations, for which the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) are responsible, implement the Directive. However, the ATOL Regulations are an important part of how the UK complies with the Package Travel Directive and this is why the two are being linked in this way.
Beyond this Call for Evidence, there is very little information about next steps and timing, although the DfT has indicated that the evidence gathered as part of this review will help to inform the Government’s negotiating position with the EU as relates to the Package Travel Directive. The document also makes clear that the Government will not decide what further reforms to make to the ATOL scheme until the future position with Package Travel Directive is clear.
This Call for Evidence is very important for the travel industry – it is an initial step in a consultation process that may eventually see fundamental changes to the way the ATOL scheme operates and is funded. This is also a very early step in the Government’s review process, and it is not yet asking industry for views on a definite proposals. As with all changes to policy, it is important that the industry’s case is made early and made well. ABTA Member feedback is essential in shaping our response to Government.
ABTA is currently reviewing the Call for Evidence in detail. Once we have done so, we will be in touch with Members via an online survey explaining the key points within the DfT document, inviting you to submit your views on how it might affect your business. We will then host a number of workshops around the UK to give you the opportunity to discuss the key issues with us later in the summer, followed by a webinar for those unable to attend a face-to-face meeting.
If you are an ABTA Member, we have produced a whole array of information materials that will help you implement the ATOL reforms, this includes guidance notes, model documents and comprehensive FAQs. Sign in to the Member Zone to access these resources.
For more information on ABTA's response to the ATOL Reform consultations, see our Resource Zone.