Unlicensed travel agencies banned from displaying ATOL logo

Travel firms will no longer be able to display the ATOL logo in shop windows, brochures and online unless they hold a licence.

The Civil Aviation Authority announced the restriction on Wednesday and will discuss enforcement of the ban with local trading standards officers within days.

The restriction will hit agents who sell ATOL-protected holidays without holding an ATOL themselves.

However, agents will still be allowed to display ATOL-protected late deals in windows and identify them as such as long as they include the ATOL holder’s name and number. It is the general display of logos that is barred.

ABTA welcomed the move. A spokesman said: “It is very sensible and we support it. The only people who can display the ABTA logo are ABTA members and we will get an injunction against anyone else using it.”

However, Advantage business travel director Norman Gage said: “People do still have ATOL logos in windows, although our members do not.

“The logos are like bluebottles left in the window that have not been cleared out. This is a good move. I can’t understand why the CAA has not done it before.”

Hundreds of agencies with small business ATOLs will still be able to display logos in windows. These license companies to organise packages for up to 500 passengers a year.

The CAA said the restriction follows concern that unlicensed firms are misleading consumers by displaying the logo.

A spokesman said: “In the past, everything you bought was covered. Now so much is not, but the logo appears everywhere.

“We expect the industry to pay attention. If an agent is not an ATOL-holder we want the logo to appear only on deals that are ATOL-protected. It has to be specific. An agent who does not have an ATOL cannot have an ATOL logo in their window.”

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