Monday, 20 August 2012

Greece - lack of joined up thinking

On Radio 4's World at One today I heard one Michael Fuchs of Germany's CDU party argue that one reason it was futile for his Government to keep bailing out the Greeks was that Greece has become uncompetitive. He pointed to  tourism to the country, noting that it was 14% down in recent months. Why does he think that is? Apart from the fact that tourism generally has been hit by a global economic downturn - and that they have no right to expect the Greeks to provide them with bargain basement holidays in any case - it has been suggested that some German holidaymakers have been avoiding Greece because they are worried they might receive a frosty reception. And why might that be? Because Berlin has been decidedly sceptical about propping up the Greek economy. I don't have any hard evidence to back this up but my my surmise is surely more credible than that of Herr Fuchs.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Better holiday protection on the way

The Government looks likely to force airlines offering hotels and car hire on their web sites to provide customers with the same financial protection as all travel companies. It is thought that this will include trips booked by clicking through from an airline web site to that of a separate company offering accommodation, for example. Airlines selling conventional package holidays must already do so under the ATOL (Air Travel Organisers Licence) umbrella. But they are not currently obliged to cover flights and hotel rooms or car rentals which are sold as separate elements. Since spring this year travel agents - whether in the High Street or operating on line - have been required to provide protection for customers booking this way. But bringing airlines into the net requires more long winded, primary legislation. The Department for Transport has now indicated that doing so is one of its preferred options for cutting back the thickets of confusion still obscuring holiday protection. The ATOL system ensures holidaymakers travelling by air get their money back if firms which organise their holidays go bust or are brought home if it happens while they are abroad.