April 20, 2024


Expect exquisite business

Travel giants to ringfence customer deposits to speed up refunds

Corporations generally use holiday break deposits as a essential element of funding their business. The travel marketplace lifeboat Atol was developed in 1971 to phase in if a enterprise failed and the cash was dropped.

Ringfencing buyer funds, a typical apply in other industries this kind of as banking and gambling, would necessarily mean firms would not be in a position to use the cash handed in excess of when booking.

Corporations at this time reapplying for their yearly renewals will have to set up segregated accounts, resources stated. Providers will be restricted to a number of bookings based mostly on the volume of funds they agree to hold in rely on.

Martin Alcock, a director at the Travel Trade Consultancy, stated that although there ended up lots of positives to segregating buyer deposits, they ended up “not a panacea”. “They can be painful to set up, and they tie up a whole lot of funds… Quite a few travel enterprises will be unable to afford them,” he stated.

The programs are aimed to also handle fears that the taxpayer-backed Atol plan is insufficiently capitalised.

Labour MP Meg Hillier, chairman of Parliament’s public accounts committee, stated: “The flaws in the travel marketplace product have still left individuals at the bottom of the heap for also lengthy. When a business goes bust or a flight or holiday break is cancelled, individuals often wrestle to get their challenging-acquired funds back again in any acceptable time.

“A new product that safeguards buyer funds is overdue. It will change the performing product of several travel firms but it will provide significantly-necessary buyer security. The collapse of enterprises and Covid have highlighted what can go mistaken.”

The CAA did not comment.