UK Travel Laws and Regulations

If you are looking at starting a travel business such as a tour operator selling holiday packages then you must adhere to the 1992 Package Travel Regulations. Failure to do so is a breach of the law and also leaves the consumer financially unprotected. Please see the information below for guidance or alternatively please feel free to contact us on 0207 190 9988 or for a free consultation.

In addition, if you are starting a tour operator or travel agency and wish to sell flights, they you must comply with the Civil Aviation Authorities (CAA) Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) Regulations.

Click on these links for more information: 1992 Package Travel Regulations (PTR) and the Civil Aviation Authorities (CAA) Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL).

Which one applies to me?

It’s dependent on the type of holidays or services you wish to sell. If you wish to sell packages without flights then you will have to adhere to the 1992 Package Travel Regulations (PTR) which states that:

– Financial guarantees must be provided to any consumer booking a holiday package

– A ‘Package’ is defined as comprising of two or more of the follow elements:

1. Accommodation

2. Transport

3. Other Tourist Services

– The customer must be protected against the failure of the seller of their holiday or any subsequent suppliers. In the event of a failure the customer must receive the holiday they purchased or a full refund of their money.

The legal definition is complex but penalties for breaches can be severe.

What if I wish to provide flights?

The ATOL Regulations will apply if you are a tour operator looking to provide any type of flight even if it is flight only or a flight package.  In addition, any flight service that incorporates an individual flight plus individual accommodation or car hire will also need to be protected by an ATOL under the new ATOL Flight-Plus Regulations.

What is ATOL?

ATOL is a financial protection scheme managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (“CAA”).

All travel companies selling air holiday packages and flights in the UK are required by law to hold a licence called an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (“ATOL”), which is granted after the company, has met the CAA’s licensing requirements.

Similar to the 1992 Package Travel Regulations, it is designed to protect consumers in the event of your business ceasing to trade. As an ATOL holder you will provide the same guarantees to your customer that their money is financially protected in the event of the seller or suppliers failure.

Each ATOL holder is issued with a unique ATOL number, which can be checked on the ATOL website, and must contribute to a protection fund called the Air Travel Trust (ATT).

How do I financially protect my customers in-line with the PTR’s and ATOL?

There are 3 main ways of providing financial protection to your customers:

– Insurance
– Bonding
– Trust Account

Whilst insurance and bonding are recognised as a valid form of protection in-line with the 1992 Package Travel Regulations they can often be expensive and difficult to obtain, especially for new start ups.

By becoming a client of Protected Travel Services you will automatically benefit from the financial protection provided by our comprehensive range of insurances supported by our HSBC Trust Account. For more information on the financial benefits please see Trust Account or contact us using the number above.