Cormac Meehan, President of the Irish Travel Agents Association, has called on the Government to review the legislation concerning bonding among travel providers in Ireland.
Following the collapse of Lowcostholidays last summer, almost 4,200 Irish customers have made claims to the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) amounting to €3.8 million. These claims will be covered by the Travellers’ Protection Fund, which has a fund of €5 million made up of contributions from tour operators and administered by the Commission, because the Irish division of Lowcostholidays was bonded for just €79,243.
Cormac Meehan expressed his alarm that the company’s bonding level was so under provided for: “The Lowcostholidays refunds will clear out 75% of the Travellers’ Protection Fund. We are calling on the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to meet with the ITAA immediately to review the legislation around bonding and work on the next steps.
“Lowcostholidays.ie (Lowcostholidays Spain S.L.) was licensed and bonded by CAR so we are amazed at the under provision in the context of the thoroughness with which the Regulator usually deals with our members.
“The ITAA has been pushing for a collective bond for years, among all travel agents, tour operators and airlines. We would also like to draw the Minister’s attention to the organisations, within the Irish travel sector, that are not bonded with CAR at all. This area must be reviewed immediately to ensure the protection of Irish consumers. If travel agents and operators continue to be under bonded, the shortfall will ultimately be paid by the taxpayer.”