Abta defends agents after The Times criticism

Abta has defended travel agents after The Times published a scathing article accusing agencies of committing fraud, following more travel disruption over the Jubilee bank holiday weekend.

In a comment piece on recent flight cancellations and travel delays, The Times blamed airlines, airports and agents for causing “chaos” as travellers attempted to go abroad, condemning the industry for being short staffed and “failing to foresee the surge in demand” after the pandemic.

The article highlighted travel agencies as culpable for the disruptions and said they have “knowingly sold holidays without any certainty that the flights were available”.

MORE: Industry leaders blast government criticism over half-term delays

It continued: “Travel agents that take money for holidays that they know cannot be delivered are guilty of old-fashioned fraud, and should be tracked down and prosecuted”.

Mark Tanzer, chief executive of Abta, slammed the article and charged The Times with doing agents an “incredible disservice”.

In a letter to the newspaper, Tanzer wrote: “No evidence is provided to back up this sweeping statement.

“Travel agents are true professionals and experts who not only provide a great service but are there to help customers if something goes wrong.

“By accusing them this way, The Times is doing thousands of hard-working agents an incredible disservice.”

Leading industry figures have pinned delays and cancellations on the government, citing stop/start policies in relation to overseas travel and a lack of support for the sector over the past two years.

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