TTNG issues package travel regulations plea to business secretary

The Travel Network Group today backed calls for government to amend the Package Travel Regulations to help the travel sector through the coronavirus crisis.

The 1,000-member consortium’s chief executive today urged business secretary Alok Sharma to “make the right decision” to alter the EU rules.

TTNG has been supporting Abta and the Civil Aviation Authority in their conversations with government over the PTR legislation in recent weeks.

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Chief executive Gary Lewis said: ‘Whilst we welcomed the government’s quick response to support businesses, we call for immediate action on PTRs.

“We have been in constant communication with Abta and the CAA, offering the secretary of state for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) a consolidated and evidenced view on how this situation is impacting travel businesses across our membership and the industry at large.

“A decision from the government should be imminent, in order to avoid businesses collapsing in the short term.”

He added: ‘For the past three to four weeks, our main priority and focus has been on supporting our members, by giving them access to different tools, to help their businesses, and supporting them in their conversations with their teams and their customers.

“In anticipation of a government decision on PTRs, we have given our members access to template letters that they could send to their local MPs, to plead for our cause, support scripts on how to have the refund conversations with their customers, as well as a legal statement to defend chargebacks with merchant acquirers.”

Highlighting new initiatives to support members, Lewis said: “At this time of uncertainty, all travel businesses are currently inundated with customers’ requests of altering or cancelling their travel plans.

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“To take some of that pressure off, we have recently launched an initiative whereby members are sending us details of their customers’ travel insurance policies and we will carry out the research on their behalf, so as to understand if their customers can claim from their travel insurance, under the cancellation cover.

“More than 60 members have already taken this on board and the support team is busy checking all policies’ terms and conditions.”

Concerned customers are calling in daily to check if agents were members of the group, particularly the Travel Trust Association, offering financial protection to customers through the trust accounts model.

“What we have seen since the outbreak of this pandemic is that every part of that trust account model is tested through the current crisis and it is working as it was designed to do,” Lewis said.

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