What this means ..... in layman's terms
All tour operators are required by EU law to provide some form of financial guarantee to the people that book
and pay them in advance, in case they go bankrupt - this is called a
'bond'. There are a large number of small operators who fail to comply
with this legislation (and there have historically been some larger ones too!) - beware of them because if they go bust, you
will lose your money! NEVER be afraid or embarrassed to ask a tour
operator about their bonding .... after all, anyone who provides the
right security to a client will have no problem to tell you about it!
There are a lot of different types of
bonding available depending on the particular operation the tour
operator carries out and the size and type of the company. Some of the
most well known to the public are ABTA and ATOL bonds which generally
apply to larger operators, those offering flights and travel agents but these are not any
'better' or 'more secure' - it depends on what the tour operator offers
in his package. A popular misconception is that if you book with an ATOL bonded operator you are always safe - but be aware that ATOL bonding ONLY covers FLIGHT INCLUSIVE PACKAGES - so if you book with an ATOL bonded agent, but make non-flight travel arrangements, you will not be covered unless they also have a second bond to cover non-flight packages (such as ABTA or ABTOT).
Don't be fooled by logos - as we can all just post them on our websites! Check out the company with the bond company they are advertising (they all have directories on their websites where you can check the tour operator is actually registered there).
Another popular misconception is that paying by credit card gives you more protection - well, yes the credit card companies will then be responsible for refunding money you have paid if you don't get your holiday but you don't get "double" cover then from the bond as well as the bond company will expect the credit card company to reimburse you first. If you pay by bank transfer, you do not have any less protection as the bond will cover you.
In our case, the most appropriate bond to cover our
activities is provided by ABTOT. Each year we are required to pay for
what is effectively an insurance policy to cover our clients' money and
our financial stability and business activities are scrutinised by
ABTOT before the bond is granted and throughout the year by means of
quarterly reporting. It means for you that if we go bust after we have
taken your money, ABTOT will refund you and if this unlikely event
happens whilst you are actually on holiday with us, then ABTOT will
repatriate you to the UK (as long as the travel element of your holiday
was booked with us) - see their official wording at the top of this page for what is and isn't covered and if you have any questions, please just ask us or ABTOT.
Our bond only covers the holiday
components you book with us so if you make your own travel arrangements
(for example flights or transfers with another company), these need to
be covered by the company with whom you book them and in the event of
US going bust, THEIR bond will not cover you if you have to cancel as
they are still solvent!
You can verify our bond by checking directly on the ABTOT website if you wish at www.abtot.com
Important Note Concerning Flights
We do not sell or package flights as part of the holidays we offer -
we may offer to assist you by researching options and prices available
through the web or travel agents we work with but you will need to
actually make the booking yourself with the agent or airline
concerned. The assistance we provide in researching options does not
form part of your contract with us and is not covered by our bond