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Tour operator body faces deadline to secure bond

The Irish Travel Agents' Association (ITAA) was under pressure yesterday to furnish outstanding details for a proposed collective insurance bond after it missed an earlier deadline to provide the information to the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR).

Industry sources have suggested that if the ITAA cannot secure a collective bond for 50 of its members that an important part of its raison d'etre as a representative body would evaporate. Of 200 travel agents and tour operators, over 100 are ITAA members, with the majority already sourcing their own cover.

However, Simon Nugent, the ITAA chief executive, told the Irish Independent that he planned to supply additional details to the CAR yesterday and was hopeful that a collective bond could yet be approved. He denied that a failure to provide a collective bond would result in any difficulties for the association's members and maintained that even if a collective bond isn't secured, the ITAA would still be able to assist them in securing cover.

The bond ensures that if a travel agent goes bust that money is subsequently available to repatriate customers and fulfil contractual obligations. The collective bond insurance was most recently provided by the Irish arm of US insurer Travelers and is understood to have cost a six-figure sum. The bond is thought to provide a low seven-figure insurance sum.

The ITAA has arranged the cover annually for its members, who must have a bond in place so they can continue to trade.

The CAR declined to comment yesterday.

Irish Independent