Friday, 4 February 2011 12:00 AM
Approximately six million more holidays will be protected against the risk of tour operators or travel providers going bust as a result of planned government reforms, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.
It was confirmed this week that the government would press ahead with changes to Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (Atol), a scheme which guarantees that customers do not lose money or end up stranded abroad if a company ceases operating.
Planned reforms include extending protection to incorporate 'flight plus' holidays - trips including air travel where various elements are booked separately within a specified short period.
The DfT also aims to stop companies from misleading customers regarding Atol cover and replace the variety of documents currently issued by some providers with a standardised set of information, making it clear when trips are protected.
Members of the industry and the Civil Aviation Authority are already working on a recognisable certificate to signify holidays that are covered by the scheme.
The proposals, which are subject to a consultation later this year, also aim to reduce the deficit in the fund covering reimbursement and repatriation for consumers whose travel providers fail.
Announcing the planned reforms in a statement to Parliament, aviation minister Theresa Villiers said: "Since it was introduced, Atol has provided protection for millions of holidaymakers and I am determined to see this continue.
"Insolvencies in recent years have shown us how important it is that customers are able to buy protected holidays, but recent court cases have only served to highlight the fact that the scheme is in need of reform.
"These changes will remove much of the confusion surrounding Atol, while ensuring operators who offer such holidays provide customers with the financial protection they expect."
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