A frustrated agent is planning to charge customers for
taking away brochures after becoming increasingly fed up with being used as a
holiday library.

Manchester-based Peregrination managing partner Geoff
Dykes wants to charge £2 per brochure from next year after becoming fed up with
being used as a “brochure distribution point”. His other agency, Dykes Travel,
will also start charging.

The £2 will be refunded – making it exempt from VAT –
if the customer books a holiday or returns the brochure after seven days.

All proceeds will go to a travel-based charity,
possibly The Travel Foundation, he said.

Dykes said it was a responsible approach to brochure
wastage rather than a means of generating revenue.

“We are doing this to stop the people who wander in,
take a handful of brochures and disappear. Half the time they come in, take the
brochures because they are free and they end up in the bin a day later. It’s an
awful environmental waste.”

Dykes said the move would benefit the major operators
because they generate the largest volume of brochures.

ABTA could see no legal problem with charging for
brochures, while Federation of Tour Operators secretary-general Andy Cooper
called it a “risky but brave move”.

“Most operators would be happy if there was an
effective means of stock control but some will object,” he added.

First Choice Retail commercial director Cheryl Powell
criticised the policy. “Supplying brochures is part of the overall service –
they are not the agents’ property to charge for.”

Club Med managing director Chris Woodbridge-Cox added
the agent was likely to lose customers as a result.

Cosmos commercial director Stuart Jackson said: “You
would need more agents to adopt this policy to have an effect in the

Worldchoice commercial
director Keith Wilson sympathised with Dykes but would not encourage his
consortium’s members to charge.