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Chairman's Message

Mike Gooley CBE, Chairman Trailfinders

THE PROTECTION RACKET

I thought I would be writing this column in celebration of Trailfinders 50th birthday come 12 October 2020 and not about the general insolvency of the Travel Industry so starkly exposed by the pandemic.

Travel stands alone in mainstream commerce in not being legally required to safeguard pipeline funds or being regulated as to how they are spent.

It is scandalous that the money innocently paid for travel arrangements sometime in the future is not required to be set aside in trust and solely spent delivering the contract. Airlines and travel companies are free to misappropriate these advance funds to finance their day to day costs and even dividends and bonuses.

Organisations fail when their capital is exhausted. Only in Travel is this shortfall, and the misery it brings, grossly magnified because money paid for future travel months in advance has also been consumed. Embezzlement is defined as the use of monies for a purpose not intended.

The ATOL scheme fails in its purpose covering only 1 in 4 travellers. TF covers everyone we can under the ATOL scheme. However loopholes are exploited by cynical operators to avoid the cost and obligations of ATOL protection. Those making their own bookings are of course on their own when it comes to refunding and redress.

Trailfinders from our seemingly pathetic little start-up in 1970 opened two bank accounts. One for our clients’ money and one which belonged to us. So we knew exactly which monies were ours and which were entrusted to us. I have also set aside large reserves of cash from past profits to guard against doomsday scenarios. We have been able to refund our clients while we wait to recover your money from Airlines in the present hiatus. We have honoured our unique Financial Guarantee even where Airlines have already gone into administration, taking the risk we will get it back ourselves.

It has been heart-breaking to annul over 150,000 holidays so far, all caringly put together and so looked forward to by our clients.

Trailfinders unmatched record of protection for the traveller has never been so valued.

Come what may we will be here for you in these trying times and in better times to come.
Mike Gooley's Signature
Mike Gooley CBE, Chairman Trailfinders
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