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12 Oct 2017

BY Sophie Griffiths


'Tough year' ahead for travel sector as trio of new regulations loom

Businesses are being urged to prepare for “a tough year of regulation” in 2018, with a raft of legislation set to come into force over the coming months.

Simon Bunce, Abta

“Will you be considered an organiser in the future? Or do you not want to have that responsibility?”

Simon Bunce, director of legal affairs at Abta, told delegates to be ready for the Payment Services Directive 2 which comes into effect in January – “it’s going to come straight from the bottom line of businesses; you have got to start thinking about that”, he said.

He also discussed the huge repercussions of the new Package Travel Directive, which will come into force from July 2018.

Bunce highlighted the government’s lack of preparation, admitting that the industry still had not seen the results of the Department for Transport’s final consultation. “We have to have the regulations in place by January 1,” he urged.

But he added: “There is a lot that we do know though,” and he advised businesses to start preparing now.

“Agents – have a look at your business model,” he said. “Will you be considered an organiser in the future? Or do you not want to have that responsibility?”

He said agents needed to consider what they sell, whether packages or Linked Travel Arrangements.

Meanwhile, he said package organisers needed to understand their increased responsibilities, such as the requirement to provide detailed information for persons of reduced mobility; the assistance they need to provide for people stranded overseas; the new limits on surcharges and the changes to the way that complaints are lodged.

“Tour operators – look at your processes to check your new responsibilities,” he added.

Meanwhile, Simon Blanchard, senior associate at data specialist consultancy Opt-4, warned delegates to prepare for the new General Data Protection Regulations, which come into effect from May 25 next year.

He said revised guidance was expected to be released by the government in December or January 2018, with the main points focusing on customer consent.

“Think about the key changes that you need to make to your business,” he told delegates.

“Ensure that records are well-documented to demonstrate what the individual has consented to. Make sure it is easy for customers to withdraw their consent at any time and think about unbundling – consent must be separate from other terms and conditions,” he added.

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