A major wildlife show has spent £25,000 to make it clear to consumers how travel exhibitors are complying with the new Package Travel Regulations.
Birdfair, known as the Glastonbury of bird-watching, said it has spent the money to ensure all operators at the show in Rutland taking place over this weekend (16-18 August) have signs on their stalls explaining to consumers how their holidays are financially protected.
The move came after Aito raised questions about some tour operators exhibiting at last year’s show without offering the required protection under the PTRs, which were introduced last year.
Tim Appleton, founder and manager of Birdfair, told TTG: “We have spent £25,000, which would have been spent on conservation, on making sure everything is legally correct.”
Appleton said there were signs at Birdfair making clear how holidays were “fully covered” on every stand, as well as printing a statement in the event’s magazine.
“We have done everybody possible – all exhibitors will be covered,” he added. “We’ve been used as a guinea pig and now we are completely squeaky clean.”
Aito director Noel Josephides said Birdfair organisers had taken the issue “more seriously” this year and given “clear instructions” to exhibitors.
But he added: “We will have quite a few members at the show who will be looking at what these companies are doing. We hope the CAA will be paying a visit as well.”
Aito has been campaigning to ensure travel companies exhibiting at shows are not selling holidays illegally by failing to comply with the new PTRs.
The issue around consumer protection at shows particularly relates to those operators from outside the EU.
Another UK show The Game Fair, held last month (July) in Hertfordshire, decided it would only feature travel companies that fully comply with the PTRs, following long-standing pressure from Aito.