Abta has dismissed calls for the government to hold back on implementing the new Package Travel Directive (PTD).

Head of financial protection John de Vial said a delay would be “a disservice to the industry”. He told Travel Weekly: “Not implementing the directive would be a mistake. The industry wants certainty.”

However, De Vial expressed sympathy with the recent call by the Association of Atol Companies’ (AAC) for a curb on the right of holiday firms based in the EU but outside Britain to sell to UK holidaymakers without an Atol licence.

The AAC called on the government “not to permit any business trading in the UK to sell without an Atol” following the collapse of Lowcost Travel Group in July.

The PTD is due to come into force in 2018, a year ahead of the earliest date Britain could leave the EU.

De Vial said: “The idea we would not be ready would be wrong. It would be a disservice to the industry.

“When we talked to our members about Brexit [ahead of the June referendum], they did not want to change much of the PTD. The fundamentals of package travel protection have not changed since the 1960s.

“The UK will have to comply on time. It would be mad not to be ready.”

The Department for Business (BEIS) has promised a consultation on new Package Travel Regulations, which will enforce the directive in the UK, by the end of the year.

De Vial said: “The timing is tight, but the government does seem to be getting on with it.

“We’ve lost a few months, but I don’t think it’s a fundamental problem.”

He suggested the collapse of Lowcost and its Majorca-based online agency Lowcost Holidays, which traded without Atol protection, “could make a lot of people think more cautiously”.

Beis held the first of a series of workshops on PTD implementation in London earlier this month.