What is ABTA?

Millions of people travel from the UK each year around the world for recreation or business. Most of them enjoy smooth hassle-free journeys -- but, occasionally, things go wrong, and sometimes people don't receive the service they expected, or a tour operator or travel agent runs into financial difficulties.

This is where ABTA comes in -- but few people understand what benefits an ABTA-bonded travel agent can provide.

What is ABTA?

Formerly known as the Association of British Travel Agents, ABTA was founded over 60 years ago and is now the UK's largest travel association, representing travel agents and tour operators. ABTA protection provides and enforces standards and insurance for holidaymakers in the event of financial problems for bonded travel companies.

What does ABTA do?

When you see that a travel agent is ABTA bonded, it means they are afforded protection. The cover is specifically designed to cover holidays purchased in the UK that don't include flights -- for example, sea or land based package holidays, such as coach, rail or cruise holidays. Your money and holiday will be protected by ABTA's financial protection scheme.

What does ABTA protected mean?

If Solar Travel goes out of business you'll be entitled to a refund which includes hotel costs. If you're abroad, your transport home will be covered as part of the insurance. ABTA's processes are quick and simple, so you'll be able to continue your holiday as planned, or get a refund.

How else does ABTA help me?

ABTA has a Code of Conduct governing areas such as advertising, fair terms of trading, changes to your booking and managing customer complaints. ABTA can also provide guidance on providing travellers with the correct paperwork and handling of complaints. As an ABTA member, Solar Travel cannot cancel your booking after the date for payment of the full price unless it's necessary to do so for reasons outside of our control. If this happens, Solar Travel must offer you the choice of getting all your money back or choosing alternative travel arrangements. In addition, if there is a significant change to your travel arrangements, we must offer you the choice of accepting the changed travel arrangements or getting your money back.

All ABTA members have to abide by this code of conduct and any that do not can face sanctions from the organisation.

How do I know I'm covered by ABTA?

When choosing a holiday, you should always ensure that the chosen travel provider is covered by ABTA. Any receipt from Solar Travel will always clearly display our ABTA registration number, and you can verify this on the ABTA website by clicking here.

Where you are purchasing holidays from more than one provider, you should always check that they are ABTA members by searching the ABTA website for the company's name or ABTA membership number (ours is A109).

What is ATOL? Is it different?

ATOL is the Air Travel Organiser's Licensing and it sits alongside ABTA, but it's specifically designed to cover people who fly. Whereas ABTA covers rail, road or sea holidays, ATOL covers flights and holidays that include them.

Many ABTA tour operators also provide bonds to the Civil Aviation Authority under the ATOL scheme.

How do I make a complaint to ABTA?

If you're unhappy with your holiday or service purchased from Solar Travel, in the first instance please speak to us and we'll do everything we can to put it right. If you're unable to resolve the issue with us or received no reply within 28 days, you can appeal to ABTA. They will provide an arbitration scheme for you and will apply strict guidelines.

To start a complaint with ABTA, see the ABTA Complaints Hub.

Do I still need travel insurance?

Even if your chosen travel company is an ABTA member, you'll still need personal holiday insurance to cover personal effects, delays and medical issues whilst on holiday.

Still have questions?

We're here to help


Solar Travel is here to help you book your perfect holiday. Please get in touch if you have any questions about ABTA protection and how it can help you.

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