Moore backs extra package holiday cover

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A UK government move to improve the protection of passengers caught out when travel companies collapse has been welcomed by Borders MP Michael Moore, some of who constituents have already lost holidays and money, writes Bob Burgess.

The Secretary of State for Scotland’s coalition colleague, transport minister Theresa Villiers, confirmed the move last week.

She said the Air Travel Organisers’ Licence (ATOL), which offers cover for package holidays arranged by tour operators, will now be extended to protect those who book holiday packages online.

The proposals will be put out to consultation in the spring and the measures should be in place by early next year at the latest.

Mr Moore commented : “A number of my constituents lost money when they booked their package holiday online and the firm went bust, so I welcome the government’s move to improve passenger rights by extending ATOL protection to this group.

‘The ATOL fund will be paid for by a £2.50 contribution per holiday booked and these funds will then be used to compensate customers if they lose their holiday. I believe this is a fair and much-needed move which offers protection and peace of mind to holiday makers in the Borders and across the UK.”

The ATOL protection scheme was introduced in 1970 but is now considered out of date.

Mrs Villers commented: “As a result of new ways of selling holidays and a recent court ruling, the scheme no longer completely fulfils its intended purpose.

“The proportion of holidays with ATOL protection has fallen, and it can be difficult for consumers and the travel industry to know which holidays are protected and which are not.

“The reforms will make it easier for everyone to understand which holidays are covered, and restore protection to what looks like a package holiday but now falls outside the legal definition.”