With regard to your article (Travel Weekly July 5) about ARTAC Worldchoice's bonding arrangements I would like to clarify that ABTA travel agent members need to continue to provide security to the association.
From what has appeared so far, one might conclude that something new is on offer that competes with ABTA's scheme of financial protection. This is not the case.
If ARTACor any other members are able to obtain more competitive rates from bond obligators this is welcome by ABTA.
Our objective is for members to obtain appropriate financial security at the lowest possible cost and we are indifferent to whether this is provided by TABRS or external bond obligators.
The reason why the credit turnover exemption cannot give 100% relief against Applicable Risk Turnover is because ABTA still has to meet consumer claims following member failure.
This year we have paid out many thousands of poundsto clients of failed ARTAC members.
As far as the election to the new Board in the restructured ABTA is concerned, we have yet to conclude on the precise arrangements.
There will undoubtedly be opportunities for ARTAC representatives to stand but no one in the industry is guaranteed an automatic place on the board.
We travel agents have been complaining for a while about tour operators which offer a discount to clients calling them direct.
Usually the discount offered is around 10%, sometimes with free insurance, which is bad enough. But we recently have had a case that may well be a record.
The cost for the Airtours Gatwick-Sanford flight onSeptember 3 was shown on viewdata on June 25 as £429. When the client called direct on the same day to check out availability he was offered it for £234 - a saving of £195 or over 45%! He eventually booked the same flight for October 7 (£399 on viewdata) for £276.
Interestingly his confirmation shows the cost as £399! In all cases the Premiair supplement of £99 was added.
I wonder at what price Airtours offer this flight to Going Places and Advantage franchisees. If they are being undercut they might have cause to feel very aggrieved!
Bridget Wallace Travel
Irish Ferries would like to thank travel agents for their overwhelming support and patience over the delay of the Dublin Swift Service.
The new £29m fast ferry, Jonathan Swift, left Dublin Port on Saturday July 3 for it's inaugural sailing to Holyhead following the resolution of the unofficial industrial action by ships officers, which delayed the start of the service.
By liaising closely with agents, Irish Ferries staff were able to rearrange all the passengers who had previously booked on the new fast ferry causing the minimum of disruption all round.
It really was a case of 'all hands on deck' and I am very grateful that we were able to all pull together under these unfortunate and unavoidable circumstances.
A classic case of the travel industry working together as a team. With support like this the new service is well on its way to success.
Again, thank you everyone.
Passenger manager UK
May we respectfully suggest that those travel agents currently banking with NatWest reconsider their position in the light of the NatWest Travel Service which has just been introduced.
The bank is handing out a pack of eight vouchers to its customers to be redeemed against bookings made direct with "Convention Travel".
Vouchers carry large discounts, ranging from £50 off for European weekend breaks for two to £230 off 14-night long-haul tailor-made holidays with a variety of key operators.
And surprise, surprise! This service requires the customer to collect brochures from their local travel agent. It will not send out brochures by post.
Do ask your local bank manager to justify this policy - we did and he couldn't!
RWand GMAHatt, Lloyd Brothers Travel Agency Ltd,Oswestry, Shropshire
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