As Parliament continued to debate the UK’s future relationship with Europe this week, there was some welcome news for the travel industry from the continent.
Eighteen months after Travel Weekly and Abta launched campaigns to fight fake sickness claims, a lawyer representing hotels in Spain said the threat of a withdrawal of all-inclusive product from the UK had receded.
Realistically, the chance of UK suppliers being blocked from specific properties was slim. But the symbolic importance of the statement shouldn’t be underestimated.
Although the hoteliers might have preferred swifter action, they also acknowledge that the fight against fraudulent illness claims has been a great success for the industry. Crucially, it demonstrates that a concerted effort by leading brands, associations and suppliers can effect genuine change.
The battle isn’t over, of course. There is still much work to be done to ensure both those tempted to make fake claims, and the disreputable law firms that encourage them to do so, are put off – while those with a genuine case receive the support they deserve.
But associations including Abta and Aito and operators including Tui, Thomas Cook and Jet2holidays deserve credit for working together on a coordinated and effective campaign to turn the tide against the fraudsters.
For Jet2 boss Steve Heapy, the next battles in his sights are a crackdown on airport drinking and a fight to revitalise the UK’s high streets. Both have great merits, so let’s hope the industry takes a similarly united stance to drive change once again.
Comment from Travel Weekly, January 30 edition
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