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Check you’re ATOL protected before you take the holiday plunge

Date posted: 19.12.2023

More than half (51 per cent) of consumers are planning to book a 2024 summer holiday between now and Spring, according to new research from the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing scheme (or ATOL for short).

The new figures come as ATOL, celebrating its 50th year, launches a campaign to encourage people to stop and check their next trip is financially protected by ATOL before taking the holiday plunge.

Consumers can check the ATOL website before booking and use its ‘check for ATOL’ tool to see if their holiday provider holds an ATOL licence.

The ATOL scheme offers financial protection for UK holidaymakers when they book a package trip that includes a flight. Over the last half-century, ATOL has grown to financially protect more than 26 million passengers a year and there are now over 1,600 travel businesses licensed under the scheme.

ATOL, which is run by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, surveyed around 2,300 people in December and also found nearly three in five (56 percent) of us are planning to go overseas on a summer holiday in 2024.

Those in Northern Ireland were the most likely to go abroad next year (67 percent) followed by those in Wales (57 per cent). Some 55 per cent of those in England plan a trip away in 2024, while Scots were the least likely of those surveyed to go overseas next year (53 per cent).

ATOL’s research also found that among those planning to go on an overseas summer holiday in 2024, 17 per cent have already booked their summer holiday, 23 per cent plan to book it this winter and more than two-thirds (38 per cent) plan to book it in the spring.  Only 17 per cent plan to leave it until the last minute and book it between June and August.

Andrew McConnell, spokesperson for the UK Civil Aviation Authority said:

“This year has seen growth in bookings, driving holiday reservations back to pre-pandemic levels, and while unfortunately, we have seen several smaller organisations go out of business this year, ATOL financial protection has provided reassurance by assisting people to get home if they are already abroad or allowing them to make a claim for a refund if they are yet to travel.

“We know from our research that people are already planning their next overseas trip, so before consumers take the holiday plunge, they should use our ‘check for ATOL’ tool to see if their holiday provider holds an ATOL licence.

“By booking an ATOL-protected holiday, they know they can then relax, knowing they won’t be left out of pocket should anything happen to their travel firm.”

ATOL’s campaign will run from this week until mid- February and adverts will be seen across digital channels including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Spotify. Content will also run across ATOL’s own social media channels, which will encourage consumers to check for ATOL protection when organising their next overseas trip.

Notes to Editors:

  • Travel companies selling air package holidays in the UK are required to hold an ATOL (which stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) and the scheme also applies to some flight bookings.
  • If an ATOL licensed travel company stops trading, the scheme protects their package holiday customers, making sure they don’t get stuck abroad or lose money if they are yet to travel.
  • Some non-UK travel companies will be advertising their deals over the traditional peak sales period to UK consumers – these companies should be ATOL licensed.
  • Before booking, you should always check that your travel provider is a legitimate ATOL holder and you can check this on our website
  • When you book, the travel company will provide an ATOL Certificate, which tells customers what they are protected against if the travel company stops trading, and shows exactly which parts of their booking are ATOL protected.
  • Savanta conducted an online survey of 2,295 UK adults between the 9th and 10th December 2023. Data was weighted to be nationally representative of all UK adults by age, gender, region and social grade.

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