The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) is calling on the Government to take steps to protect consumers by ensuring that customers are adequately compensated for disrupted bookings amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. As the Government continues to advise against all non-essential travel overseas, the ITAA believe that flights overseas should be cancelled in order to ensure that customers are refunded.
The ITAA has highlighted the fact that a large number of flights are currently being advertised by airlines, despite the fact that there are no guarantees that customers will be offered cash refunds if they choose not to proceed with their holiday. The Association has warned advised consumers to carefully review all terms and conditions before proceeding with a booking. The Association has also encouraged consumers to book with an ITAA member travel agent to ensure that they are protected should any issues arise.
The current advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team states that all non-essential foreign travel should be avoided. The ITAA is concerned by the lack of protection afforded to consumers under the current guidelines, as many customers are not entitled to a refund under their travel insurance policy if they choose to cancel their flights.
Pat Dawson, ITAA CEO, stated, “We are warning people when booking travel to ensure that they thoroughly read all terms and conditions before making a booking. If you are unsure, consult with your travel agents who will ensure that you don’t run into the same difficulties as last year and lose money on travel bookings. The current guidelines have had a huge impact on Irish consumers, as the non-essential travel ban is not covered by insurance.”
He continued, “The current travel restrictions provide no relief to either inbound or outbound travel, which will have a knock on effect on the Irish travel industry well into the future. We are calling on the Government to make a clear decision on the current guidelines so that we can begin to rebuild our industry.”