AITO Unveils Travel Industry Gold Standard With Launch Of 100% Financial Protection Campaign

Fully financially-protected holidays a must have in 2009

By TTM on 09 January 2009 in News

Fully financially-protected holidays for consumers are a must in 2009 to ensure that hard-earned money and holidays don’t disappear in a difficult economic climate

Do you realise that if you book a holiday direct with:
• Hotel only, you may not be covered
• Charter flight only, you probably will be covered
• Scheduled flight only, you are not covered
• A self-drive element, you may not be covered
• A rail/coach element, you may not be covered
• A company by credit card, you may not be covered
One sure way of knowing your holiday is fully protected is by booking with an AITO member.

AITO (the Association of Independent Tour Operators, today launches a high-profile campaign to heighten awareness that AITO offers 100% fully financially protected holidays. The financial protection offered by AITO members is well in excess of legal requirements and far superior to that offered by some travel associations, which have been diluted in recent years.

A tough year is predicted for 2009, with an uncertain economic outlook, but the one certainty is for holidays to remain firmly on the consumer’s shopping list. This year, AITO is encouraging travellers to make it their resolution to seek complete financial protection when booking their holiday so neither their holiday nor their money is in jeopardy via unprotected tour operators, flights booked directly with airlines or DIY packages. When consumers buy any holidays through an AITO member, they are protected. Fact. AITO tour operators offer full protection whether it’s an air-inclusive, rail, self-drive or coach holiday or even the popular accommodation-only option. If components are bought separately and/or direct from the supplier, travellers might well be on their own if trouble looms. The Civil Aviation Authority’s ATOL (Air Travel Organisers’ Licence) scheme is instantly recognisable to consumers - offers full protection for air travel or air-inclusive travel.

Despite the recent XL debacle, consumers still feel an element of confusion regarding protection when buying holidays. AITO’s new logo resonates with a simple message – “Book a holiday with AITO and you are fully financially protected”.

Derek Moore, AITO Chairman (Explore), comments: “Booking a holiday can be a minefield for consumers - many automatically assume their holidays are protected when they aren’t. The last thing people can afford is for their holiday not to be iron clad - AITO ensures your holiday is fully financially protected. Other organisations offer protection - or not - based upon the type of holiday booked, but the new AITO Holiday 100% Financial Protection Campaign logo is the industry gold standard for protection and quality. We continue to lobby the Government on the confusing status of protection.”

AITO has drafted a simple one-page guide for the press and public (see below) to explain the technicalities of financial protection. Protection is a hugely important aspect of holiday purchases which - even within the industry - very few completely understand, putting consumers at a huge disadvantage. This guide spells out the dangers and pitfalls of not booking a protected package appropriate to the type of holiday being booked.

Who Offers What?

AITO’s 100% Financial Protection Promise covers all aspects of any travel booked through an AITO tour operator.

Civil Aviation Authority
The Civil Aviation Authority’s ATOL scheme covers air-inclusive packages and air travel only.

Travel Trust Association
The Travel Trust Association (TTA) offers 100% financial protection through its trust account system backed up by insurance.

Many of the travel arrangements provided by ABTA members are protected in case of financial failure of the travel company. ABTA explains further:

All ABTA (The Travel Association) travel agents offer financial protection against their failure and many of the travel arrangements provided by ABTA Members are protected in case of the financial failure of the travel company. All ABTA tour operators offer financial protection with the exception of some accommodation-only suppliers. Where travel arrangements aren't already protected, most ABTA Members will be able to offer suitable insurance to cover customers.


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