ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer has written an open letter to UK holidaymakers to explain ongoing problems with refunds for cancelled trips.
Speaking directly to customers of ABTA members, he sought to explain how travel agents had been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and asked for support.
Published in the national press, the letter explains how international travel has been brought to a complete standstill by government measures to contain the pandemic and how this has led to hundreds of thousands
of holidays being affected.
It expresses sympathy for customers who have asked for a refund and those who may feel frustrated and concerned at the amount of time it is taking.
Tanzer explains: “Travel agents and operators are working extremely hard in the most trying of circumstances to do their best for their customers.
“But many travel companies are unable to provide immediate cash refunds.
“It’s in nobody’s interests for normally healthy travel businesses to go under.
“As well as the loss of thousands of jobs, the government-backed ATOL financial protection scheme would be overwhelmed by a large-scale failure of businesses and it would take many more months for customers to get a refund.
“In the absence of government action, ABTA has developed a regulatory framework for financially-protected refunds for its members and their customers.”
Last week ABTA published updated information on its website for customers on why delays to refunds for package holidays may be occurring, and on how the system of refund credit notes works.