Make your dream come true in 2021
for many years I also felt a sense of responsibility to argue for what I saw (and see) as a better path: pay your debts. But beyond and above that I also do not like to see big corporations run rings around the public. Closer to home, I was aware of family members owed significant sums of money by large corporations worth billions. It just seemed wrong. The consumer group Which? has been a staunch ally and, happily, over time, progress has been made with more companies refunding but there is still a long way to go.
With the industry’s reputation damaged and the basic product (holidays) ensnared in a thicket of complicated and changing rules how do we move forwards?
First, the government needs to keep up the pressure on travel companies to pay refunds to customers. Both the Civil Aviation Authority and Consumer and Markets Authority are now engaged.
Second, travel companies should pay out, or where they really cannot, agree with customers when they will do so instead of giving people the run around. Third, the government should clarify if Refund Credit Notes are or are not ATOL protected. The silence is unsettling. ATOL protection is key if your tour operator fails and Which? now explicitly advise customers not to accept them due to the uncertainty.
Fourth, it would be helpful if travel advice for all home nations was coordinated and combined into a single list issued by the FCO, maintained and updated daily, confirming for each destination country: you can travel and return without quarantining (both abroad and back home).
Fifth, the sector is knocked out. We need help through a tax break on employer’s National Insurance contributions to keep jobs hanging by a thread alive.
Sixth, reform. The current system of financial protection has failed. At VIVID
Travel we are moving to Gold Standard Trust Accounting so everything a customer pays is held in trust until they return. It transforms the normal cashflows, adversely, but there is no alternative to ensure that customers can always be confident of a refund if we need to cancel their trip, for any reason.
All storms pass, even Covid-19, and we must make sure the new travel industry which then emerges is financially robust and completely trustworthy. Customers deserve and will demand nothing less.
Allow Kane Pirie of VIVID Travel to make your dreams come true with once-in-alifetime trips to New Zealand’s Piha beach, main image, or Kyoto in Japan, inset