Homeworking agency InteleTravel UK has been granted Abta membership after “an extensive two-year process”.
Abta confirmed the news this morning, stating it “does not take membership decisions lightly”.
InteleTravel has been of interest to the industry since coming onto the scene in the UK market, with some raising concerns about some of its members’ claims around protection for the consumer.
Abta’s director of financial protection and financial services, John de Vial, said: “For a travel company to become an Abta member they must demonstrate how they meet all of Abta’s strict criteria – including around the financial stability of the organisation, the fitness of the individuals responsible for the company in the UK, as well as adherence to Abta’s code of conduct, which is there to ensure high standards.
“In addition, InteleTravel UK has put extra measures in place such as the requirement for all existing agents to complete four mandatory training modules on GDPR, the Package Travel Regulations and customer service, and a 100% pass rate must be achieved for agents to continue to operate or for new agents to join the business.”
Abta said InteleTravel UK also introduced independent mystery shopping to test its agents’ knowledge of these matters, and provided evidence to Abta on the completion of the training and mystery shopping results.
InteleTravel said in a statement that it “greatly respects the rigorous application process carried out by Abta which has enabled the US parent group to reorganise every facet of InteleTravel that touches UK travel consumers and the industry in order to meet UK regulatory requirements”.
“This will ensure that UK travellers and the reputation of our UK travel agents are properly cared for and protected,” it said.
InteleTravel says it is bonded as a retail travel agent and has met the financial criteria required for UK trading.
It added: “InteleTravel is recognised in the US as the original US homeworking agency, which after 27 years of professional and safe operation remains a leader with thousands of homeworkers.
“It has a wide network of leading suppliers, holds memberships in several industry organisations such as Clia and Iata and is an award-winning brand.”
InteleTravel president, James R Ferrara, added: “We feel proud of this achievement, and now that our application review is concluded we cannot wait to tell our own story, accurately and professionally.
“While a traditional homeworking model exists in the UK, ours is different.
“New ideas and new competitors are vital to any marketplace. We look forward to making a considerable contribution to the future of the industry here and introducing the next generation of travel-sellers to the UK.”
InteleTravel further added it would continue to work closely with the UK authorities and its commercial partners to support the efforts of its UK-based homeworkers.