John Spollen, President of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) has said: “The board of the Irish Travel Agents Association has been working diligently over the past three weeks with Government representatives regarding issues specific to travel agents and the difficulties they are experiencing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. These behind-the-scenes meetings and representations have been on-going with cross-industry support to get key initiatives agreed by Government.
“There have been multiple communications and teleconferences since 16th March with the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport; Commission for Aviation Regulation; Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation; and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
“On 26th March, the Commission for Aviation Regulation issued guidance regarding the Package Travel Directive that caused shockwaves to resonate throughout the travel industry. Following this, our representations to government and other bodies intensified.
“We have had multiple calls and teleconference meetings backed up by board and subgroup meetings. This has been a massive effort on the part of the ITAA Board and the ITAA Executive with assistance from our legal adviser Anne Dolan and Limelight Communications.
“Our discussions have centred around Irish legislation relating to EU 261 and the ‘phantom flights’ of some airlines, the Package Travel Directive, and Insolvency Protection Arrangements as required under the Package Travel Directive. There have been lengthy discussions on the issue of airline refunds versus credit notes, which we believe is of key concern to travel agents and their customers. We await the response of Minister Ross and the Department, which is expected this week.”
Pat Dawson, ITAA Chief Executive, added: “Our representations have had cross-industry support. We have been updating Travel Centres, Worldchoice Ireland and Travel Counsellors Ireland on these discussions, and I wish to acknowledge their support for the ITAA in these negotiations. With everyone working together, we can achieve change and support for our industry.
“At EU level, the ITAA continues to make representations to the European Commission through our partners, the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations (ECCTA) on the Package Travel Directive.”