Package Tour Regulations
HASSRA VOLUNTEERS AND THE PACKAGE TOUR REGULATIONS (PTR)
New Package Tour Regulations (PTR) came into force in July 2018 and apply to Tour Operators. These regulations may affect some of the trips that HASSRA volunteers organise. This note provides guidance to help you understand how the PTR work and what you need to do to avoid becoming a Tour Operator under the terms of PTR. This is important because the PTR states that anyone organising trips falling within these regulations who does not provide the information or appropriate security in the event of insolvency as required by the PTR, “will be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of up to £5000 on a summary conviction or a fine without a specified maximum if convicted on indictment.”
Trips Covered by the Regulations
The PTR apply to trips which are:
- offered for sale at an inclusive price AND
- are 24 hours or more in length OR includes overnight accommodation AND
- include at least two of the following three components:
- other tourist services
If your trip contains at least two out of these three elements the new regulations will apply to your trip and you will be deemed to be a tour operator subject to the PTR. That means you are required to provide:
- tour operator liability insurance
- Financial protection
How To Avoid Coming Within the PTR
HASSRA is not and does not want to become a Tour Operator under the terms of the PTR, as it brings with it a range of regulatory and financial obligations. You, as a volunteer, will almost certainly want to take steps to avoid coming within the PTR. Moreover, organising a trip through an accredited tour operator has the benefit of ensuring that you and your members can benefit from the consumer protections offered by the PTR.
Essentially this means volunteers should not put together a bespoke trip themselves using different providers for things such as travel, accommodation and activities, even if those providers are APTA/ATOL protected.
Event Organiser Action
When organising trips our volunteers must ensure:
- it is clear in your advert/communications that the trip is being arranged by a tour operator and not by a HASSRA volunteer.
- the tour operator complies with the PTR i.e. has tour operator liability insurance and financial protection. Many operators will include reference to these in their terms and conditions or there will be a symbol showing ABTA or other bonding/financial protection on their website or documentation. The organiser should ask the tour operator if they has these before booking a trip.
- the HASSRA volunteer sends the terms and conditions of the tour operator to each person going on the trip or includes a link to them in correspondence.
- payment for the trip is made either directly to the tour operator or is held in a HASSRA club or regional/event sub-committee bank account and then transferred to the tour operator. Volunteers must never hold monies on behalf of any member.
- all trips that include flights must be booked through an accredited tour operator because HASSRA does not have an Air Travel Organiser’s License (ATOL).
Colleagues at CSSC have taken legal advice on PTR and have informed us there may be some limited exceptions to the PTR. This is where a small groups of members- let us say a group of golfers – jointly agree to attend an informal event, such as a golfing weekend, and delegate one of their number to make the arrangements. In this case, each member of the group will be deemed to be acting in their own capacity and PTR will not apply.
But please be aware this can stray into a grey area where there is a risk of falling within the PTR the bigger and more organised the event becomes. So it is important to think carefully before entering into this kind of arrangement.
If you want further information or have any questions please contact us using the HASSRA Help Desk