Julian Bray writes: So the coroner has delivered his findings and has opened the door, ever so slightly, for a wave of possible legal class actions in the Civil Courts against the tour operators TUI, the local owners of the hotel concerned and possibly other legal redress personally against company executives under the UK Corporate Manslaughter Act which could also - I'm told by legal experts - extend to the person behind the travel agents desk, who physically sold the travel package in the first place.
But that in itself is not enough, I read and re-read the ABTA statement, issued yesterday, with a sense of mounting disbelief. It was the final throwaway paragraph, that says to me the travel industry - as projected by ABTA - is either in corporate denial or furiously back peddling to a time long before daily terrorism was an issue, possibly 1817 rather than 2017?
The 'shocking' ABTA final paragraph reads ( the block letters are ours..) :
“The safety and security of holidaymakers is of critical importance to the travel industry and we will carefully review the Coroner’s report when it is published at the end of March to see if there are any learnings for the industry.”
I would respectfully suggest that who ever wrote the ABTA statement needs to get another job well outside of the travel and holiday industry. Clearly the safety and security of holidaymakers is of paramount importance AND NOT JUST TO THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY - nothing else matters - and if there is any doubt whatsoever, in the mind of the booker, the travel industry need not wait for FCO Government advice, which is always cautious, politically sensitive, and at times dreadfully slow to react to fast moving incidents. The travel industry can clearly no longer hide behind FCO advice, they have to take responsibility and quickly.
The Industry must in my view have viable contingencies in place enabling them to withdraw immediately along with their customers from that country or region, no matter what the financial penalties may be. I'd also suggest a text screen based information and warning system readily accessible to local resort reps and visitors alike.
Equally holidaymakers and their families may have second thoughts and unsure, possibly at the last moment must be allowed, or at least given the option, to withdraw from the contract without a severe 100% penalty.
But human life is cheap, and it all comes down to money, lots of money.
Worried holidaymakers who wish to cancel, will lose the value of their pre-paid holiday, as any travel insurance only kicks in if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office FCO amends its travel advice in writing so that insurance policy payouts can then be put into play, and insurance bonds called on.
Should the relatives be up for a legal battle ( this likely to take many years of contested litigation), the travel industry big guys are financially very well resourced and legal insurance cover firmly in place.
The witnesses will also have to re-live the harrowing experiences all over again, and whilst the legal process drones on and on - it could take years if contested - cannot really get on with their own lives.
Possibly more effective is a public mass boycott of ABTA members firms which includes High Street travel agents, unless they agree to lobby for a revision of booking conditions, to allow immediate cancellation with no onerous penalty payment, and also to table a series of parliamentary questions and a debate on the whole shambles.
It could start with a line by line examination of the multi page booking conditions usually printed in tiny type and running to some twenty folios, which we all seem to accept without reading or challenge....
The travel industry after all is selling dreams, and a mass rejection of their tempting offers and a corresponding drop in revenues, will quickly bring the parties to the table and possibly avoid long drawn out litigation. But where do WE go from here?
So called travel industry experts, possibly some mindful of the lavish freebie trips (quaintly called 'educationals' or 'fam trips') they have enjoyed over many years, really don't want to rock the boat.... (Simon Calder being a notable exception - he always pays his own way) all paraded in TV & radio studios, have seemingly accepted the line from ABTA ( which in my humble view shows just how ineffective 'on the ground' this well financed High Street travel agents association is.
Admittedly I'm not a fan of ABTA, who for decades seem to regard the media as their positive publicity trumpet, rather than providing tangible practical help and support, possibly strongly advising their ABTA membership, not to send their paying customers into conflict and/ or war zones. Acting even if the FCO has yet to wake up to the perils happening around the tourist world.
All 30 British victims of the 2015 Tunisia terror attacker were "unlawfully killed", the coroner recorded.
This is what Julian Bray said at the time of the outrage: https://julianbrayrecessionbuster07944217476.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=tunisia
Coroner Nicholas Loraine-Smith rejected calls from lawyers representing some of the dead people's relatives to rule "neglect" by travel firm TUI or the hotel owners, played a role in their killing.
Naturally our hearts go out to the victims and their families, but now the coroner has spoken and it up to all of us to ensure this never happens again.
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com