§ 16. Mr. Fry
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many prosecutions relating to package holidays there were under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 in each year since the Act came into force, and of these how many resulted in convictions.
§ Mr. Fry
I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply, but does he not agree that there are comparatively few prosecutions, despite the number of complaints? In view of the experience with Cosmos tours, of one of my constituents, will my right hon. Friend consider making it obligatory to state in the travel brochure 988 whether the hotel or cruise ship for which bookings are being taken is still under construction or refit and what is the estimated completion date?
§ Mr. Kenneth Lewis
Is my right hon. Friend aware that that is a highly satisfactory answer? Bearing in mind the millions of people who take their holidays abroad each year, the number of convictions is extremely small. Nevertheless, it is necessary for brochures to tell the right story. Does not my right hon. Friend agree that sometimes the blame lies with hotels abroad and not with the tour operator?
§ Mr. Noble
My hon. Friend is absolutely correct. The number of convictions is very small when one realises that nearly 3 million tourists each year go on this type of holiday. He is also right in saying that sometimes the fault lies with the overseas hoteliers and not with our package tour operators. None the less, it is right that the House should take this matter seriously.
§ Mr. Lipton
Will the right hon. Gentleman stop thinking about this, as he said he would, and do something?
§ Mr. Alan Williams
Would the hon. Gentleman look at the difficulties created by the protraction of the legal process, as happened in the Clarkson's case? Does this not raise a serious danger that some unscrupulous operators may use legal devices to delay adjudication until after next season's bookings are over?