ABTA has launched a call for travel agents and tour operators to highlight regulations and bureaucracy that are hampering the industry.

The association has formed a high level task force to be chaired by ABTA Director and Barclays’ policy chief, Christine Farnish, to review the sector’s heavy burden of red tape and make proposals for cutting regulation.


On his recent visit to ABTA’s offices, Tourism Minister John Penrose MP invited ABTA to participate fully in his efforts to remove some of the thousands of the unnecessary rules, guidelines and restrictions that the industry must comply with.

Christine Farnish who is chairing ABTA’s de-regulatory efforts said: “The Government is serious about wanting to cut red tape and as an industry, we need to seize this opportunity to highlight which rules are unnecessary, add extra cost to our businesses for no gain or are simply out of date. We will be submitting a report direct to the Tourism Minister and we’ve already got a hit list of regulations that should be chopped ranging from unnecessary rules to well-intentioned but poorly drafted rules. This is a process every agent and operator should participate in; if we get this right we could save the industry’s businesses millions in compliance and operating costs.”

Luke Pollard, ABTA’s Head of Public Affairs said: “Each year excessive and out-dated regulations cost our industry millions of pounds. In lobbying to get regulations like ATOL right, we must also keep one eye on rules that we should be getting rid of too. The Tourism Minister has made clear he wants to deregulate our sector and now is our chance to highlight what rules should be scrapped.”

ABTA members are already getting involved and Sue Foxall ABTA Midlands representative commented: “As an agent, I welcome this initiative that will enable me to spend less time wading through Government red tape, and more time doing what, as agents, we do best – providing safe, secure, and memorable holidays for the holidaying public. As an industry, we must speak up, and call for smarter, simpler regulations where we can. The Red Tape Challenge is a perfect opportunity to do that.”

ABTA is inviting contributions from the industry on what rules and regulations need scrapping or updating. Whether this relates to employment law, obligations on owning a business, taxation requirements or the rules and regulations that govern travel ABTA wants to hear from you. 

Email ideas to consultations@abta.co.uk; all ideas will be considered by ABTA’s Red Tape Task Force.

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