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UK government to revamp ATOL and protect online holiday bookings

Santander SpainOn Monday, the UK Parliament debated the pros and cons of providing better financial protection for Brits who book their holidays on the internet. The new legislation will offer people who book holidays on internet sites the same levels of protection if their travel provider goes bust as if they buy a package from a High Street travel agency.

After the reading in the House of Commons, a government spokesperson noted that holidaymakers who booked flights, accommodation and car hire from different providers would be protected by the Air Travel Organisers’ Licence (ATOL). Established in the 1970s, ATOL was designed to offer compensation to or repatriate holidaymakers on package holidays if their operator went bankrupt.

The only proviso was that the holiday included flights. This stipulation had not kept pace with changing trends as a recent ABTA Holiday Habits study found that Britons typically built DIY packages. The survey found up to 75 per cent of British people booked car hire, hotels and flights from different providers.

The legislation is likely to become law some time in 2018. Prime-minister Theresa May explained that the government wanted to make sure all consumers got the same protection with online purchases as they did when booking offline.

The prime-minister finished off by saying the new ATOL bill would mean legislation kept pace with the evolution of technology and consumers’ buying habits. Minister for Transport, John Hayes, stated that the ATOL bill would provide parity and ensure people were not penalised for choosing to book something other than all-inclusive holidays.



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