MPs have lent their support to the travel industry's efforts to tackle fraud as the new trade organisation PROFiT launches.
Consumer affairs minister Gareth Thomas and Conservative MP for Ribble Valley Nigel Evans have urged the industry to work together to fight fraud.
The travel industry is likely to see an upsurge in fraud over the next year as businesses become more vulnerable during the recession. ABTA estimates more than £10 million a year is stolen by fraudsters targeting the industry, while the Office of Fair Trading believes about 400,000 British holidaymakers are hit by scams every year.
Speaking ahead of the launch of PROFiT, the new fraud-fighting industry body, supported by Travel Weekly, Thomas said it is vital to fight fraud during the downturn.
He said: "It is all the more important when money is tight that we ensure consumers get the fair deal they deserve and that they, and legitimate businesses, do not suffer at the hands of fraudsters," he said.
Evans, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Identity Fraud, said: "Small businesses such as travel agencies will not always have the same resources as large organisations to prevent fraud. That's where trade bodies come in to provide guidance.
"Holidays are one of the only purchases where people pay large amounts of money without getting anything for it immediately, which makes consumers more vulnerable.
"It is vital the travel industry works together," he said.
PROFiT officially launches today. In partnership with the Metropolitan Police, it aims to help travel firms reduce fraud.
For more details on PROFiT see profit.uk.com
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