Make your dream come true in 2021

The Herald - The Herald Magazine - - Commercial Focus -

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

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