The Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) has expressed alarm at the unanticipated inclusion of business travel in draft proposals for Atol reform, and called for a delay to allow time for legislation to bring in airlines.
The GTMC has backed the leisure industry’s line on the inclusion of carriers, saying: “It is unacceptable the proposed [Atol] scheme will not cover Flight-Plus sales through this channel [airlines] . . . It is essential airlines are included.”
In a submission to the Department for Transport (DfT), the GTMC describes the Flight-Plus proposals as “flawed” and the January 1 deadline for implementation as “unrealistic”. It suggests at least a six-month deferral.
It says the proposals risk bringing “a large proportion” of corporate travel sales into the new regime. GTMC chief executive Anne Godfrey told Travel Weekly: “It would be horrendous, given the number of transactions our members handle.”
The GTMC notes “the suggestion of an exemption for business transactions to corporate entities using credit cards”, but it says: “The proposals do not recognise that an increasingly large proportion of all sales are not made on credit.”
It recommends: “All . . . sales in the business travel sector be made exempt whatever the payment method.”
The GTMC also says the draft proposals “do not adequately define business travel” and suggests the following definition: “Any travel service provided by a licensed intermediary to a corporate entity (private, public sector, plc or partnership) where the entity, not the business traveller, is invoiced.”
The industry consultation on Atol reform ends today (September 15). The DfT is expected to respond with updated proposals in mid-October.