Like London buses, you wait ages for one Atol consultation to come along and then two arrive at once!
I very much doubt any of you have been on tenterhooks waiting impatiently for the latest round of regulatory reform in the industry.
But the starting gun was finally fired last Friday by the CAA and Department for Transport on a somewhat curtailed process in which the sector has just one month to submit its views.
Thankfully, the CAA has indicated it will give some leeway to firms, many already struggling to prepare for new GDPR data rules, who aren’t ready by the July 1 deadline.
In truth, many of the proposed changes to Atol and the laws that underpin it have been well-documented and shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise.
But the devil, as always, is in the detail, and that is why lawyers and accountants will be poring over the documents released last week to assess the impact on travel firms.
Instinctively, businesses don’t like government regulations. But once the pain of compliance is forgotten, their role in setting industry standards can be positive.
The sector has consistently demanded laws that reward compliance but don’t stifle entrepreneurialism; that are easy and inexpensive to comply with; and that are good for the consumer.
For that reason it’s to be hoped the confusion and divided opinion about the revamped regulations is limited to the new Linked Travel Arrangements.
Inevitably, clarity on some issues will be needed, which is why the industry must seize this opportunity to have its views taken into account.
Comment from Travel Weekly, March 1 edition
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