The chief executive of Iglu has called on UK tour operators and online travel agents to settle their disagreement over the Package Travel Directive (PTD) so they can focus on pushing for other types of websites to be included.
In a panel discussion at the ABTA Travel Convention, Richard Downs said the industry needed to move on from its “domestic squabble” over the terms of the Assisted Travel Arrangement (ATA) details.
“UK tour operators and online travel agents need to sort the squabble over ATA, then once there is a solid proposal we can then focus the scope onto Europe,” he said.
Currently the tour operators see the current PTD proposals as a “good start” but that there is a “way to go, while the OTAs are questioning their position and where the risks lie.
Downs argued meta-search website should also be included in the protection, while both him and panel member Andrew Cooper from Thomas Cook said Google should be included if it moves into the holiday booking space.
“This is an area of the sector the European Commission doesn’t understand and it is easy to see the dilemma,” said Cooper.
Downs added: “From the OTA perspective if you want us to be liable then you have to bring in meta-search and Google too.”
With discussions into the proposals still taking place, it is expected it will be another six months at least until the new PTD draft is put forward, with implementation now not expected until 2017.
Noel Josephides, chairman of ABTA told its travel agent members to “relax” and “not worry” about changes at this stage.
“Nothing will change until 2017 so you will have time and most of you would have adjusted your businesses by then,” he said.