Travel association Abta has warned online agents they have just a month to prepare for the launch of Atol Certificates to be issued to customers at the point of booking.
Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (Atol) Certificates will be a legal requirement for selling Atol-protected holidays from October 1.
Abta said: “If you are selling any Atol-protected travel arrangement you must supply an Atol Certificate to the customer immediately on receipt of payment for the booking.”
The requirement will be new to most online travel agents, who have not required Atol cover until this year unless selling package holidays.
Research for Travolution sister publication Travel Weekly, published this week, suggested 68% of holiday bookings from the UK this summer were made online.
The study of 500 holidaymakers by Explore Research suggested at least 10% of total bookings fell into the category of Flight-Plus holidays – flights and accommodation or car hire booked separately but from a single source.
Another 32% were categorised as flights and accommodation booked separately from different sources, which would also fall into Flight-Plus if the ‘different sources’ were sister companies or involved an airline and accommodation provider linked by a single retailer.
Abta is advising members to check its updated Business Support Manual, available online, which includes wording on Atol Certificates that must appear on websites.
OTAs should also check the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) site: http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?pageid=12958