Local Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs Ian Murray is urging South Edinburgh residents to pack peace of mind when purchasing their holidays this year, by making sure they book an ATOL-protected trip.

The ATOL scheme is there to protect people against the risk of their travel company going bust: ensuring they can continue their holiday and return home safely if the company collapses whilst they are away; or providing refunds if they’re yet to travel. And with over two million ATOL-protected air holidays expected to be sold in the UK during January -; the scheme will give holidaymakers across the country peace of mind that their hard earned holiday will not be lost.

During 2012, Parliament agreed two key changes to the scheme to widen protection and help people understand when they are protected. Holidays known by the industry as ‘Flight-Plus’ are now included in the scheme, as well as traditional package holidays. A ‘Flight-Plus’ booking is one that includes a flight plus accommodation and/or car hire, so long as these separate parts of the holiday are booked with the same company and within a day of each other.

The second change agreed by Parliament in 2012 saw the introduction of the ATOL certificate; offering consumers greater clarity on how their holiday is protected. Anyone who books an ATOL-protected trip will now receive an ATOL certificate from their travel company as soon as they make any payment. The certificate tells them what is protected, who is protecting it and what to do if something goes wrong.

Ian Murray, said: “As Shadow Consumer Affairs Minister I fully support the ATOL scheme and backed the recent changes in Parliament that give even greater protection for people booking a trip away. I urge anyone booking a holiday to use an ATOL approved travel company, you can check if a company provides protection by looking for the ATOL logo on their promotional material, or searching the company’s name athttp://www.packpeaceofmind.co.uk. This site also gives more information about what’s covered by the scheme and how the ATOL certificate works. We have all seen over the past few years how quickly a travel company can go bust and leave people stranded all over the world or how a major natural event can leave travel plans in chaos. I deal with dozens of constituents every year who lose their holiday’s due to them not being protected by ATOL”

Ian Murray is also advising people booking trips not covered by the ATOL scheme such as those without flights or holidays booked directly with airlines, to seek alternative methods of protection such as insurance or paying with their credit card.

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