Who Are ABTA and ATOL



ABTA is an abbreviation for ‘Association of British Travel Agents’, ABTA is the UK’s largest travel trade association for travel agents and tour operator. ABTA has been a trusted travel brand name for over 65 years, offering advice and guidance to the travelling public. ABTA was founded back in 1950 by 22 leading travel industry companies, and back on the 1st July 2008 they merged with FTO (The Federation of Operators) 

ABTA offer support, protection and expertise, this means you can have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in their appointed Members. These qualities are essential to them as they ensure that you remain confident in the holidays and travel experiences that you purchase from their Members. Their Members manage fantastic experiences for millions of holidaymakers, but sometimes things don’t go to plan. If you have an issue that you haven’t been able to resolve with one of their Members, they will be there to help resolve it for you. If needed, you’ll get access to their fast, cost-effective and independent complaints resolution service which could save you time, money and hassle. 

You’ll be reassured to know that all package and ‘Flight-Plus’ holidays that have been sold by ABTA Members are protected financially in the event of a company failure. This means that in the unlikely event your travel company goes out of business, they have a quick and simple process for you to follow, so you’ll be able to continue your holiday as planned or get your money back. 

So what are the benefits? ABTA can provide around-the-clock expert advice in a crisis and help you understand your rights.


ATOL is an abbreviation for ‘Air Travel Organisers Licencing’, it is a UK CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) scheme to protect you if you have purchased flight or a package holiday from a tour operator. The majority of the UK tour operators are required to have an ATOL licence in place, because without one they may not be legally able to sell air travel. ATOL licenced firms would have had their business firms inspected by the CAA. 

ATOL was introduced back in 1973 when the popularity of overseas travelling grew. After a number of travel company failures left people stranded, the UK Government realised that consumers would require some protection. The ATOL scheme was designed to cover chartered flights and package holidays, this worked well for years however the holiday market has changed a lot and a rise in online holiday bookings means many people now book certain areas of their holiday separately. As a result of these changes ATOL made some changes to their scheme back in April 2012, it now covers all overseas air holidays where flight and accommodation have been booked together. It also covers some flights that have been booked separately. 

So what are the benefits? ATOL stops you losing money or becoming stranded abroad if your travel company collapses.