Despite this, the decade ended with fresh demand for the bonding of UK tour operators following the collapse of Wright’s Holidays, which saw a draw on Abta’s common fund of £400,000 in today’s money – nearly half its war chest.
The move resulted in Abta’s man in parliament, MP Kenneth Lewis, seeking compulsory powers from the Air Transport Licensing Board to oversee operators’ financial standing.
Meanwhile, the abolition of retail price maintenance rules on some foreign holidays meant, for example, winter packages to Majorca could be marketed at £32 and eight shillings – £17 below the lowest available scheduled air fare – while Kuoni was now allowed to market 14-day Kenya beach and safari tours for £150 (£2,192 today).
What did it all mean?
As TTG reported extensively, the travel industry in the 1960s was characterised by rapid growth and technological advances including jet aircraft that began to make mass travel affordable.
Like any immature industry, there were casualties among its players that saw travel leaders and politicians begin to voice concerns about consumers being at risk of losing their money.
Firstly, there was the question of the long gap between paying for a holiday and taking it – back then, there was no guarantee customers would be refunded if the operator went bust.
Then there was the issue of who paid for repatriation of clients abroad. It was initially Abta that stepped in with its own solution, one that was not popular because it meant that without an Abta membership, trading was very difficult.
As the 1960s ended, the government showed a growing realisation of the threat of operators taking large amounts of money months before they delivered travel arrangements to the consumer and began to explore the idea of the Atol system we recognise today via the creation