Do I Need A Travel License To Run A Travel Business In The UK?

The PTS team are approached on a daily basis by international trading travel businesses and UK start-ups with the same question: “Do I need a travel license to run a travel business in the UK?”

To run a tour operator or travel agency in the UK it is a regulated market and it is becoming even more stringent with the introduction of The New Package Travel Directive. However, the regulations are purely in place to protect consumers, not to make business within the travel industry difficult.

At PTS we appreciate that there is a huge amount of information to process and it can appear confusing and overwhelming when you are starting up in travel or simply looking to bring your travel business to the UK market.

There are two areas that a tour operator or travel business must consider.

ATOL – Air Travel Organisers License

If your company wants to sell flights, or include flights in the packages that you offer to your clients, then your travel company will need an ATOL.

PTR Compliance – Package Travel Regulations Compliance

Most tour operators sell two or more elements. When we say elements we mean:

  • Accommodation
  • Transfers
  • Car hire
  • Food/catering
  • Activities
  • Booking activities through external suppliers.
  • Spa treatments
  • Excursions

The above list is not exhaustive. We are just purely offering some examples to highlight elements of a package.

Travel businesses, or travel advisors, that are arranging two or more elements from the above list would generally need to be PTR compliant.

So, to clarify – there are two separate areas that are regulated, ATOL and PTR. You may need both, or, you may just need to be PTR compliant if you are not selling flights. But, you must ensure client monies are secure when you work in travel.

PTS offers cost-effective and streamlined solutions for both areas. PTS is a CAA Franchisee and as such, you can apply for a Small Business ATOL through PTS once you are a PTS member.

We make sure, starting a travel company, or moving a successful trading travel business to PTS is simple and easy. We strive to ensure we offer solutions that make our members more streamlined and efficient.

Please do keep in mind that The New Package Travel Directive will be coming in to action in 2018 so it is important that you start to arrange compliant solutions as soon as possible.

For more information on The New Package Travel Directive please take a look at this link – Government Guide on The New PTD.

If you’d like to learn more about travel licenses, please get in contact with one of Protected Trust Services’ (PTS) lovely staff members by calling 0207 190 9988. Or, you can visit our member support and travel trust account pages to learn more about how we protect you.

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