Holidaymakers who organise their own ‘DIY’ trips should realise they aren’t necessarily covered if their tour operator goes bust, according to Holiday Which?.
The number of holidaymakers financially protected by ATOL (Air Travel Organisers’ Licence) if something goes wrong has fallen from 98 per cent in 1997 to just 61 per cent in 2006.
This is due to more and more people booking each part of their holiday separately – rather than as a package from a travel agent.
Although package holidays including a flight must be ATOL protected, the same doesn’t apply to ‘DIY’ holidays.
This means that travel agents can save themselves money by avoiding providing this protection on DIY holidays – even those that include a flight.
The collapse of EUJet in July 2005, affecting almost 40,000 passengers, showed that this is a real concern.
Tour operators could also use legal loopholes on ‘DIY’ holidays to avoid their responsibility for accommodation quality and injury during the holiday.
Mike Pedley, Principal Researcher at Holiday Which? said: ‘If a holiday operator goes bust, holidaymakers cannot assume that they will be able to get their money back.
‘DIY holidays, whether booked online or through an agent, are not automatically protected. If you’re booking your summer holiday you must ask if it’s ATOL bonded or covered by an alternative protection scheme to ensure you’ll be looked after if anything should go wrong.’