Government warned about ‘overregulating’ PTRs

By Harry Kemble
10/05/2023
Home » Government warned about ‘overregulating’ PTRs

A travel industry consultant has warned the Government to be careful about ‘overregulating’ the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs).

The Department for Business and Trade has committed to revising the PTRs, with a consultation due on the potential changes to the main framework legislation for consumer protection in the travel industry.

Proposals are likely to include the simplification of Linked Travel Arrangements (LTAs) and the deregulation of the domestic package market.

But Joanna Kolatsis, Director at Themis Advisory, issued a note of caution at ABTA’s Travel Law Seminar on Wednesday (10 May) about the potential reforms.

She said “My biggest concern is COVID seems to be the driving force behind this review and the consultation.

“COVID has tainted our views of the PTRs and how consumers react to disruption in the industry. We need to put an element of reality that COVID was – I hope – a once in a lifetime event for all of us. COVID was very extreme and was on a global scale.

“Prior to COVID, we did not have an issue with refunds or delivering a service in a disruption. We knew what we were dealing with, and we would deal with it.

“What I would really hate to see happen is we throw the baby out of the bath water and overregulate the situation.”

Joanna added the industry had just started to understand the ‘nuances of the PTRs’ before COVID struck.

Andrew Cooper, Head of Compliance at customer engagement firm Kognitiv, said increasingly varied business models were complicating the discussion around reform of PTRs.

According to Andrew, a lot of the discussions points around PTRs were almost deemed ‘too difficult’ by regulators.

“As more models exist, the ‘too difficult’ part gets larger and larger,” he said. “Welcome as much as they are, the PTR proposals are more about tweaking then addressing the fundamentals.”

Georgina Hunt, Senior Executive of Legal Operations at Kuoni, described LTAs as ‘jarring’.

“They’re still quite a barrier in the sense that they’re jarring,” she said. “I do wonder if it’s the time now to remove the LTAs entirely.

“What’s the alternative going to look like?”

See also: Agents urged to keep up with regulation reforms

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