loveholidays has become the latest travel agent to depart ABTA in a growing dispute over refunds.
The online travel company follows On the Beach in resigning its membership of the trade body.
The association recently reaffirmed its position that, if the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advises against “all but essential” travel to a destination, trips should be cancelled, and refunds offered.
However, On the Beach and now loveholidays have rejected the position.
A statement from loveholidays explained: “The Covid-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for holidaymakers, which have been exacerbated by frequent changes in travel guidance issued by the UK government.
“The current package travel legislation was never designed to deal with disruption on the scale we have seen since March.
“Unfortunately, as a result of our divergent views on the legal position regarding cancellations and refunds, we have decided that it is no longer possible for loveholidays to remain a member of ABTA.”
Loveholidays said package holidays remained protected by the ATOL scheme.
The statement added: “We believe the priority for everyone in the travel industry should be to come up with a workable, fair solution to help holidaymakers get their money back as quickly as possible.
“Speeding up the refund process for airlines must be a key part of this solution, and we urge the entire industry to focus on working together to make this possible.”
In response to the latest resignation, ABTA doubled down on its position.
A spokesperson explained: “loveholidays has chosen to resign from ABTA membership following ongoing discussions about refunds due to customers when the Foreign Office advice changes to advise against all, or all but essential travel to a destination.
“ABTA is firm in its position that the longstanding practice of offering a full refund when the Foreign Office advises against travel still stands.”