Trade association, the School Travel Forum, is making membership of Abta a requirement for its members.

The not for profit, professional trade body supports its members to achieve and maintain specific industry standards in health and safety and quality learning experiences to enable schools and students to travel safely and with confidence.

STF members range from the UK’s largest educational travel providers to smaller specialist operators, and are recognised for providing high quality experiences for student and youth travellers – whether it be a cultural, ski or sports trip.

The strengths of both organisations will be brought together for the benefit of students, teachers, schools and other stakeholders – combining the STF’s educational travel experience and expertise with Abta’s broader knowledge and experience of the travel sector.

Existing and future STF members will be subject to the association’s application and approval process, with many STF members already part of Abta prior to the new arrangement.

By joining Abta, STF members and their customers will benefit from the additional support, protection and expertise that the travel association offers including financial protection solutions for package holidays.

Members of STF will have access to Abta’s guidance which covers a range of issues, from animal welfare to health and safety, package travel regulations and GDPR.

Abta’s code of conduct will apply, allowing schools to book and travel with confidence and the association will support the STF in promoting the benefits of booking with an Abta member.

Victoria Bacon, Abta brand and business director, said:  “We are delighted to join forces with School Travel Forum members to support school trips.

“With 75% of people looking for an ABTA member when they book their own family holiday, knowing that they can do the same for school breaks will give parents and teachers confidence that they are booking with a reputable travel company.

“We look forward to working with the School Travel Forum and demonstrating the added benefits of Abta membership.”

STF chief executive Gill Harvey said: “This is a very positive and important step for the School Travel Forum.

“Abta is a trusted travel brand known for its expertise and guidance, and will provide STF members with a wealth of advice and support in addition to what we already provide.

“We also recognise the role Abta has in providing practical help and expertise on travel regulations – such as the upcoming package travel regulations and GDPR – to inform and keep members up to date on what’s required of them in the coming months.”