The Commission for Aviation Regulation has completed the autumn 2011 licensing round for tour operators and travel agents. The CAR received 113 valid travel agent applications and 50 valid tour operator applications.
Overall, 109 travel agent and 50 tour operator licences were issued from renewing applicants by 3rd November 2011. Five new travel agent and three new tour operator licences were also issued, making the grand total of 114 travel agents and 53 tour operators then licensed.
Travel Agency Licences
On 3rd November the CAR said: “The following travel agents have not renewed their licences: Ethel Kelly trading as Unique Travel, DB Tours, Keycamp Holidays, and Manasik Tours. The CAR is continuing to engage with these firms and licences may be issued in due course; if so, a notice will be placed on the CAR’s website.”
On Monday (7th November) the website was updated and the following three travel agency licences had been renewed to 31st October 2012: DB Tours (TA703), Ethel Kelly t/a Unique Travel (TA597), and Keycamp Holidays (TA156).
The following two travel agency licences were still shown as having expired on 31st October 2011: Manasik Tours (TA688) and Sporting & Special Events (TA668).
Six other travel agency licences were shown as having not been renewed: Ark Travel Group t/a HyHo Travel (TA696), Mysterytrips (TA698), Audrey O’Brien t/a Air Adventures (TA651), Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (TA633) – but continuing to trade under TA705, Traveldev t/a Directski.com (TA526) – but continuing to trade under TA172, and WWTE t/a Expedia.fr (TA677).
The five newest travel agency licences are Way2Go Travel (TA710), IntoIndia t/a Earth’s Edge (TA711), Friends of the National Gallery of Ireland (TA712), One Stop Touring Shop (TA713), and Alpha International Accommodation (TA714).
Tour Operator Licences
Two tour operator licences that expired on 31st October 2011 have not been renewed: Enjoy Travel (TO238) and Hotelplan t/a Inghams (TO027).
As reported last month by Irish Travel Trade News, several other tour operator licences that expired on 31st October 2011 have not been renewed, but the relevant companies continue to trade under a travel agency licence. These are Dawson Travel Cork (TO 128, TA327), Do Travel t/a Clondalkin Travel (TO253, TA079), Lee Travel (TO200, TA162), Newbridge Travel & Tours (TO177, TA551), Thomson Travel (TO230, TA311) and Twohig Travel Agency (TO047, TA292).
The three newest tour operator licences are World Travel Centre (TO256), Riviera Tours (TO257) and Eirebus (TO258).
CAR advised the travel trade in a notice of June 2011 of the timetable for the renewal of a licence. The licensing round opened in July with applicants expected to submit complete applications by mid-August 2011. The Commission undertook that it would aim to send decision letters by mid-September to applicants that had met the August application deadline. Finally, applicants who presented bonds to CAR by mid-October were assured to receive their licences by 31st October.
Alan Richardson, Manager Travel Trade Licensing, said: “We are pleased that 50 out of 50 renewing tour operators (100%) and 109 out of 113 (96%) of renewing travel agents met the licensing deadline. The total numbers including new applicants are 114 travel agents and 53 tour operators. This leaves four travel agents not licensed as they have not provided a bond to the CAR. Customers are advised that if they make any new bookings with the unlicensed entities no bond cover is in place to effect repatriations or refund customers.”
All tour operators and travel agents offering for sale travel out of Ireland (whether based in Ireland or offering services from a remote Internet site) are required by law to be licensed and bonded to buy or sell overseas travel originating in the State to destinations outside of Ireland. This is to ensure passenger repatriation in the event that a licence holder ceases trading when customers are abroad or to provide refunds where travel contracts are not fulfilled before the due date of travel. Any bookings made with an unlicensed entity are not protected by the bonding schemes operated by the CAR.