§ 8. Mr. Cronin
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take further steps to regulate package tours to obtain higher standards of safety and comfort for the holiday-makers concerned.
§ Mr. Cronin
While the majority of package tours are organised efficiently, is there not a small minority in which the holiday-makers suffer disappointment, discomfort and inconvenience and receive poor value for money? Should not the hon. Gentleman take steps to protect their interests?
§ Mr. Grant
The hon. Gentleman is quite right in saying that a small minority fall below the standards one expects. But the Civil Aviation (Air Travel Organisers' Licensing) Regulations, 1972, just intro- 1052 duced, will enable civil aviation to safeguard the public by requiring the organisers to be fit and proper persons and to have adequate resources and arrangements.
§ Mr. McCrindle
The safety record of the British charter companies and tour operators is second to none.
§ Mr. McCrindle
Concerning comfort, is not the considerable competition prevailing in the industry today a far better guarantee to the consumer than any intervention from the Department?
§ Mr. Mason
I recognise that the travel trade is covered now by the Trade Descriptions Act, and that the Association of British Travel Agents has set up a safety fund and arbitration body with a view to covering its mistakes, but is the hon. Gentleman aware that if there is any major failure this season and numerous holiday-makers are disappointed, great pressure will be brought to bear on the Government to introduce legislation to register all travel trade operators with a view to withdrawing their licences, if necessary?