ATOL is Britain’s statutory scheme that ensures consumers are protected against the risk of their travel company going bust.
Since changes agreed by the British Parliament in 2012, the scheme now covers the traditional package holiday, as well as trips where consumers book flights and accommodation separately, providing they are booked with the same company and within a day of each other.
As holidaymakers in Derry begin searching for summer deals this month and next – in what is traditionally the biggest holiday-booking period of the year – Foyle SDLP MP Mark Durkan said he was concerned some could book unprotected trips in their rush to secure a good deal.
Mr Durkan: “People who book an ATOL protected holiday are fully covered if anything happens to their travel company, but those without it may well have to make their own arrangements if something goes wrong.
“I am therefore urging people to double check if they’ll get an ATOL certificate with their booking – which will mean that their trip is fully protected.”
Between 2011/12 and 2012/13 over 14,000 ATOL protected holidaymakers were returned home after their holiday company collapsed, with 69,000 people eligible for refunds.