group managing director Graham Nichols said: “ has resigned from ABTA with immediate effect over the Association's recent ruling to make bed-banks liable for all forward bookings made through an agent in the event of agency failure, whether or not the bed-bank has been paid.

“Our relationships with agents are varied and complex and are negotiated on an individual contractual basis. In addition agents sell in many different ways which also has a bearing on the overall commercial situation.

“This ruling does not take into consideration the intricacies of the supplier-travel agent relationship or the continuing evolution within this sector which will be further informed by the imminent Medhotels’ VAT case and the Travel Republic court case.

“In these circumstances we find it an unacceptable risk to our business model to accept this new blanket ruling, preferring to rely on the actual contractual, commercial and practical agreements that are in place. The ABTA protection of £100,000 per year is nothing like enough to cover the risk.

“As with any business decision, things will remain under review as the shape and scope of the accommodation-only sector continues to develop.”

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