The Foreign Office and ABTA are Pals

By | Category: Travel rumblings

ABTA members will be able to provide holiday information to those people that they sell holidays to. The system, known as ABTA Travel Buddy, an irksome name if ever there was one, enables ABTA members to e-mail or text their clients (you and me) with information after we have booked. The information could be about the destinations we are going to, reminders about health insurance and what would be available in a country if there was a health emergency. In the event of political issues developing in the country, then Foreign Office advice could also be sent and travellers could be located if a real emergency arose.

On the face of it this is a good idea. But why is it limited to ABTA members? If ABTA and ABTA members had paid for it I wouldn’t disagree but since it has been paid for the us, the taxpayer (via the Foreign Office budget) then I think it should be more widely available. Last year, according to ABTA, only 18 million out of 45 million package holidays sold were sold by their members. So why can’t the other 27 million have access to this information if they want?

ABTA gives protection to us travellers through the bonding scheme ATOL, an extremely worthwhile and necessary piece of consumer protection. But other travel agents achieve some degree of support through insurance that they carry. In some ways then the Foreign Office is discriminating by not making a service we are paying for available to all of us regardless of where we book.

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