Simplification of consumer financial protection methods required by the package travel regulations and a proposal to allow the travel industry to sell insurance policies without FSA red tape has been welcomed by specialist operators.
The Association of Independent Tour Operators backed the two key recommendations made in an effort to cut red tape in a report issued by Alan Parker, chairman of the Tourism Regulation Taskforce.
Aito industry affairs director Noel Josephides said: “It’s not often that one can read something that hits the nail on the head in this way when it comes to red tape and over-regulation.
“This report is refreshingly easy to read and it recognises both how important tourism is to economic growth in the UK and the significant barriers placed on SMEs such as Aito members and their Aito Specialist Travel Agent counterparts by over-regulation.”
Addressing recommendations on package travel regulations, he said: “The recommendation is to place lead responsibility for the protection of pre-payments and repatriation in the travel industry within just one Whitehall department rather than the current two.
“As the report states, this will reduce unnecessary bureaucracy, save the government money and also reduce costs as a result of duplication of licences to the industry, particularly SMEs.”
Aito also backed the report which said that “a situation (was created) where the UK became the only country within the EU that did not provide an exemption for the sale of travel insurance.
“UK travel agents and tour operators became the only ones in Europe facing regulation when selling travel insurance.”
The result has clearly been that an increasing number of holidaymakers have travelled uninsured, Aito said.
Aito joined Abta in calling for tourism minister John Penrose to back the findings and act on them.
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