HC Deb 21 January 1974 vol 867 cc1192-4
20. Mr. McCrindle

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has plans to meet the Association of British Travel Agents and the Tour Operators Council to discuss the 1974 holiday season.

Sir G. Howe

I have already had discussions with the Association of British Travel Agents about its trading arrangements.

Mr. McCrindle

Has my right hon. and learned Friend noticed that this year many people who would normally have been making holiday bookings are hesitant about doing so in view of the possibility that the travel tours for which they are booking might not go ahead? Has he noticed that this has led to difficulty in some parts of the travel trade? Is the future oil supply position such that my right hon. and learned Friend can now engage in discussions with the travel trade with a view to giving it an indication of how much oil is likely to be forthcoming in the summer months for charter holiday flights?

Sir G. Howe

The travel trade is as aware as anyone else of the possible difficulties arising from the oil supply shortages. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary will be keeping in touch with it about that.

Mr. Ewing

In the Minister's discussions with the travel tour operators, was there mention of the fact that operators do not seem to be telling holidaymakers that people travelling from this country to other Common Market countries are not required to cover themselves for sickness and treatment in hospital?

Sir G. Howe

I shall certainly pay attention to the point made by the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Alan Williams

Is the Minister aware that many travel agents are already so worried that there have been dismissals of staff? Does he recognise that when, after today's trade figures, a new Draconian Budget is introduced, there will inevitably be a risk of increases in bankruptcies among travel agents? In those circumstances, what further action does the Minister contemplate to protect members of the public who have booked and paid well in advance, in the event of travel agents encountering difficulties?

Sir G. Howe

I do not take the same alarmist view of the situation as the hon. Gentleman does. The prospect of financial failure is one of the matters that has been under discussion in the past with the association.