February 21, 2018 | AITO – Association of Independent Tour Operators
To sum it up in just a few words: Frustration (at the lack of industry involvement by BEIS). And Mission Impossible, realising that BEIS is planning to lay the Regulations in 7 weeks’ time, yet has not given industry any feedback to the consultations that closed on 25 September 2017, or indeed any inkling on the way that BEIS is thinking.
Says Derek Moore, Chairman of AITO. “If we look firstly at the timeline, in August 2017, Government gave the travel industry 6 weeks to prepare submissions to it on the new PTRs, required by 25 September, 2017. In February 2018, five months later, they tell us in their letter of 12th February that they “value the feedback from our stakeholders” and that they are going to “lay the regulations” post Easter (just missing, I hate to point out, 1st April, All Fool’s Day).
“That will be 6 months after they gave us 6 weeks to respond to them. And the Regulations will be laid just 7 weeks after the BEIS letter of yesterday. Frankly, it’s a bit of a bomb shell when, as BEIS admits in its letter, ‘business and consumer groups highlighted some complex concerns that required further in-depth consideration’.
“Kirstin Green, Deputy Director Consumer Policy and Enforcement, BEIS, refers in her letter of 12th February to the fact that BEIS has undertaken ‘further work since the consultation’. But the industry has no idea what work BEIS has done over the past five months, or what conclusions it has formed. It would be really useful to know exactly what they are planning to do (apart from not, it appears, delivering the further Consultation/s that we had expected and which they notably don’t mention).
“And then there is the fact already mentioned that Government has not yet given its response to the Consultation carried out last August/September. Ms Green kindly states: ‘We will also be providing the Government response to the Consultation as soon as possible’, but this lack of update so close to the date of implementation does not remotely help the travel industry.
“We would respectfully suggest that, firstly, Government should give the industry its response to the Consultation of last August/September.
“Secondly, it would be courteous to let the industry know what the conclusions of BEIS are, having evidently worked on the industry’s submissions for the past five months, before it proceeds to lay the regulations at just seven weeks’ notice and in the absence of any industry input whatsoever.
“I regret very much to note that it leads one to the conclusion that Government has already decided what it is doing, and has decided not to involve the travel industry further, bar seeking our help in writing the necessary guidelines. I hope very much that this does not prove to be the case.”