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UK govt releases ABTA consumer code

The British Office of Fair Trading has launched the Association of British Travel Agents’ (ABTA) Approved code of practice.The code gives consumers booking a holiday confidence that they will receive a high standard of customer service where they see the ABTA/OFT Approved code logo.

Magenta Devine, well known writer and presenter of TV’s Rough Guide travel show, has lent her support to the code which is being launched at one of the busiest times of the year for buying a holiday.

In 2004 64.2 million visits abroad were taken by UK holidaymakers, 20 million of which were package holidays.

ABTA represents the majority of UK travel agents and tour operators, its members accounting for around 90 per cent of package holidays sold in the UK. They also provide a range of independent travel options.

Members of ABTA will be able to use the OFT Approved code logo to display their commitment to high quality customer service standards.


The OFT only approves codes that are effective in safeguarding and promoting consumer interests beyond the legal minimum. The main benefits for consumers dealing with ABTA members include:

* access to low cost dispute resolution via arbitration should things go wrong

* a disciplinary committee to deal with members who do not deliver the standards required by the code

* a set of model terms and conditions.

John Fingleton, OFT Chief Executive, said:

“Holidays are one of the biggest and most eagerly looked forward to purchases of the year. Consumers booking a holiday with an ABTA member can be confident that they will receive a standard of customer service above the basic requirements of the law and access to a dispute resolution mechanism if things go wrong.”

Keith Betton, ABTA’s Head of Corporate Affairs said:

“More and more consumers demand a dream holiday, and ABTA’s Code of Conduct sets down standards that guarantees the best of practices within the travel industry. Booking an ABTA holiday is the best way to realise those dreams.”