Travel Network Group boss Gary Lewis has lent the consortium’s voice to calls for government to amend the Package Travel Regulations to ease the burden on travel businesses during the coronavirus crisis.
Agents, operators and other travel businesses are processing an unprecedented wave of refunds and rebookings owing to cancellations arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen countries shut their borders and the Foreign Office advice against all non-essential travel worldwide “indefinitely”.
Lewis on Tuesday (7 April) appealed directly to secretary of state for business Alok Sharma and called on his department to support the travel industry by making “the right decision” and amending the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs).
Under the PTRs, where a package arrangement cannot be fulfilled, customers are due a refund within 14 days. This is manageable in the event, for instance, of a single travel company collapsing, or the Foreign Office advising against all but essential travel to a single specific destination.
However, as consumers act as tacit creditors for travel businesses by paying for their holidays months in advance of the date of travel, most companies do not have the cash to process refunds en masse.