Agents are booking more third-party packages to ensure they do not fall foul of the Package Travel Regulations, a leading industry lawyer has said.
The new rules on selling travel products were introduced last July, but lawyers at Abta’s Travel Law Seminar said there was still “confusion” over what the regulations meant for many businesses.
Joanna Kolatsis, director at Themis Advisory, said: “Confusion is still happening as people get used to the new regime. Agents are choosing to avoid acting as organiser.
“It’s quite complicated, so it’s easier [for them] to sell third-party licensed products.” Kolatsis added current guidance from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy “leaves so much open to interpretation” on the new rules.
She also said there were several specialist businesses that “did not fit the mould”, particularly in areas such as wellness, events businesses and cultural or religious tours.
“If you take a yoga retreat, where it’s pretty much based around a lovely experience, then suddenly you make it very bureaucratic,” she said.
“They are probably only doing a few hundred passengers, but they are having to invest a huge amount of time and money getting to grips with the new regime.”
Matt Gatenby, senior partner at Travlaw, added: “A lot of people are still finding their feet. A large segment of people are having to look at things with fresh eyes and are finding their way.”