ABTA is clamping down on operators charging separate
security supplements, insisting they should be included in the brochure price.
Chief executive Ian Reynolds said it will be
contacting its operator members instructing them to include the charge in their
next printed brochure, likely to be the Christmas third editions. ABTA made the
decision at its board meeting last week following pressure from the trade and
Travel Weekly (Travel Weekly August 8).
Reynolds said: “We decided members should include the
charge in their prices from the next available brochure.
“When these charges were separated after September 11
it was envisaged as a temporary measure, but since then we’ve had Mombasa,
Bali, SARS and Iraq. It’s only in the past few months that there has been a
quiet enough period for us to review it.”
Three of the big four are still charging separately
for security costs. First Choice was the first to drop the levy and has
included the £7 supplement in its second-edition 2004 brochures.
However, Reynolds said there needs to be a level
playing field between ABTA and non-ABTA operator members and said it will write
to regulatory bodies, including the Office of Fair Trading, to ensure the
charge is included across the board.
TUI UK retail director and ABTA board member John McEwan
said it was happy to include the charge as long as ABTA forced other operators
An Airtours spokeswoman confirmed it would change its
pricing. “We explained our rationale to ABTA for separate charges. It doesn’t
agree with that so we are happy to comply with its request,” she said.
Thomas Cook said it believed
the current policy was more transparent but would be changing prices.
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