HC Deb 20 March 1972 vol 833 cc1051-2
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. Anthony Grant

No, Sir. I do not think those factors require additional legislative measures.

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- 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. Russell Kerr


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. Grant

I think that I can agree with my hon. Friend on both those points.

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?

Mr. Grant

Yes, I understand that entirely. But I welcome the A.B.T.A. initiative. It would be wise to see how it works out.