ABTA Essential Legal and Operational Considerations for the Resumption of Travel

Ahead of ABTA’s virtual training, An Essential Guide to Restarting Travel, Susan Deer (ABTA’s Director of Industry Relations) and Paula Macfarlane (Senior Solicitor at ABTA) outline some key legal and operational considerations as travel returns.

Paula, what changes have we seen as result of pandemic and what changes are we likely to see?

This is a very important time to take stock, to remind ourselves of the essentials of travel law, and of what remains the same and what has been changed by the pandemic. 

There were calls to suspend or change the Package Travel Regulations, what happened to that? What is the law currently in place, and does it look like this will change in the near future? What about areas that the Covid crisis showed up as clear problems, such as the actions of the airlines and the relationship between airline and tour operator obligations?

What will the legal sessions at the training cover, and why is it important for travel businesses to attend?

My morning session in the seminar, The legal landscape for UK travel, will look into all these issues. I will go on, in Legal considerations for travel restart, to also look at the new concepts that we’ve all had to get used to, such as the Government’s traffic light system. A particular focus here will be on what it all means for you as a travel company. We know that the law obliges you to provide information to your customers, so we need to delve into what information you now must make sure you’re getting across.  

Another legal session will cover issues such as changes and cancellations, and provide advice for non-package organisers on what they need to consider as travel returns.

Susan, how is ABTA supporting Members to provide information to customers?

ABTA members are doing a fantastic job of providing information to customers in a fast-changing environment, but it can feel like an insurmountable challenge for even the most experienced agents and operators just to keep up with developments.

It’s vital that Members have access to clear, timely and accurate information and ABTA’s destinations team has been working closely with the Foreign Office, destination governments and public health officials to try and make sure any gaps in advice are clarified and communicated as quickly as possible.  

What will your session at the training cover?

In our panel session COVID-19 destination requirements, we’ll talk about the Foreign Office travel advice and other potential sources of information about destination entry restrictions, so you can make sure your customers and business travellers are well prepared before they go.

They’ll also want to know what things will look like ‘on the ground’ in destination – for example, whether they have to wear masks indoors and whether restaurants, bars and attractions have any special requirements – so there are no surprises when they finally land.

We’ll also discuss health, safety and security in destination – and it’s not just all about COVID protocols!  We can’t forget the basics of traveller health, from wearing sunscreen and insect repellent, to safe behaviours when swimming or taking part in adventurous activities.

How is ABTA working to inform and educate consumers?

As part of ABTA’s #ReadySteadyTravel campaign, we have lots of advice online for travellers – there’s an essential guide for getting ready for travel as well as top tips for booking with confidence, including what to expect on the journey and while they’re away.

Where can ABTA Members get advice and guidance?

ABTA has produced an array of guidance for Members which is available in the Member Zone of abta.com including our “Post-Pandemic Recovery Guide”.  Join us to talk about how to use these tools and other information resources to help your customers book and travel with confidence.  

Paula and Susan will be speaking at ABTA’s Essential Guide to Restarting Travel on 8 September. Joining them are expert speakers from Travlaw, Intertek Cristal, Battleface and Visit Algarve. 

To register your place and view the full event agenda please visit here.