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Major gay travel company assures customers it is stable

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  1. Andrew Roberts - Chief Exe Amro Worldwide 19 Sep 2008, 10:17pm

    As a leading worldwide gay travel company, Amro Worldwide is pleased to remind everyone that it has held, since its founding in 2002, Air Travel Organiser’s Licence No 5826 as issued by the UK Civil Aviation Authority. In these troubled financial times, it is important for all buyers of travel to appreciate that ATOL was introduced in the wake of major holiday companies collapse in the past and remains the only financial protection for holiday travel. Administered by the CAA – a British Government Department – its strength has been seen in recent days as it has repatriated traveller’s overseas when holiday firms have collapsed and refunded monies paid to those yet to travel. Amro Worldwide is authorised by the CAA to take over bookings for those yet to travel and ensure their precious holidays are not lost.

  2. Jamie Hakim 21 Sep 2008, 6:54am

    Amro’s Andrew Roberts reticence to slag off a competitor shows remarkable restraint given what’s just happened to Throb & Respect/Sensations. Surely it’s the perfect time for masses of ‘goodwill’ point scoring for the remaining players in the gay travel market? Reading between the well mannered lines of Andrew’s comment, everyone should be very clear that he’s warning us that some other operators are not members of ATOL meaning we have very little protection.

    Good example is ManTrav. Their website says ‘all flights ATOL protected’ but that’s only because they don’t seem to handle flights instead directing you through to a price comparison site via ManTrav’s website. However, ManTrav don’t say THEY are members of ATOL anywhere.

    Add to this the following from ATOL’s own website: “If you book direct with an airline, including budget airlines, you WON’T be ATOL protected. You may be covered if you pay by credit card and spend over £100 – check with your credit card company.

    Some airlines have websites that also provide links to other websites that offer hotel and car hire. Remember, because you’re not booking with a single travel company, you WON’T be ATOL protected.

    If you book a scheduled flight with a travel agent and receive either an ‘electronic’ or paper ticket straight away or within 24 hours, you WON’T be ATOL protected. Consider taking out insurance that will cover you against airline failure.”

    SO what protection do ManTrav offer us once we’ve handed them all our cash for accommodation etc??

  3. Ryan Haynes 21 Sep 2008, 1:18pm

    Third bust in a week – what can this mean? Apart from the fact that most of these companies have made narrow margins to offer the best deals or offer holidays that are not in the affordable price bracket of the majority – is it really a surprise.

    If I want a gay holiday then it makes sense to go to BA, Easy Jet etc and book the flights myself, then go direct to a hotel online and book my room. I will have transport and accommodation then what I decided to do on holiday is my own.

    Some of these tour operators offer packages that are still dated in the 1980’s or for those folk too lazy to discover the destination themselves, or have more money than sense.

    Sorry to see these guys go – but the whole travel market is yet to fully wake up to the power of the internet.

  4. Andrew Jones 21 Sep 2008, 9:03pm

    I’ve read these comments with great interest and I’ve spent a lot of time this past week speaking with customers from Respect/Sensations & also Throb who have now encountered difficulties.

    What has happened in the market is a dire shame, Respect were a fantastic company, as a PR & Marketing person I salute the way they had so valiantly established their brand.

    Everyone who has commented has made valid points, Jamie especially, and I will do my best to expand on this.

    First of all I’d like to point out that typically ATOL protection only covers flights not accommodation, I was surprised to learn that the CAA have extended cover to XL Leisure Groups accommodation bookings.

    With regards Jamie’s point – Mantrav’s bonding is with the First Fidelity Travel Trust Program. This simply put is like an insurance policy which covers accommodation, transfers and tickets for our clients. So should Mantrav encounter financial difficulties (which I’d like to point out is very unlikely as we have VERY healthy bank balances) our clients will still able to take their holidays.

    On a separate note it is ALWAYS safer to pay for items using a credit card or charge card like American Express, as the protection they offer for payments can be quite substantial. The CAA is NOT refunding money to those people who paid by credit card, instead they are directing people to claim the money back with their credit card company. It begs the question what’s the point in an ATOL if the consumer can just contact their bank and charge back the payment?

    We have avoided being negatively hit by XL’s crash, quite the opposite, because unlike Throb & Respect (and I believe AMRO) we do not buy allocations on flights at a cheap price and then resell them to consumers. We book via another agency at the time of our clients’ enquiry, which allows us to sell ad-hoc holidays tailor-made for our clients.

    Mantrav is part of a group of companies who also own two of the Gay Only resorts in Gran Canaria – Club Mancha 1 & 2; we have been selling Gay travel since 1990 and are longest most firmly established Gay Company specialising in travel.

    Ryan makes a really good point regarding the Internet, which on a recent trip to Cologne with Andrew from AMRO we discussed. We found that many people will contact an agency or tour operator gets them to give them all the details on a holiday and then go and book it themselves. That can be a problem, but it’s down to the Sales person to make sure that they close the sale without the customer booking something themselves.

    I’ve been called by the CAA regarding the XL closure, Throb Holidays going bust and Respect’s closing with regards helping the customers whose holidays have been affected. We are helping these customers, often matching or beating the rates they had originally booked their holiday at. We have one customer who booked with Throb, then Respect on Wednesday and now is securely booked with us for his holiday to Gran Canaria.

    At the end of the day what has happened in the Travel Industry in the past couple of months have shook a lot of people up, many things were unexpected and without trying to sound political it boils down to factors including oil prices, credit crunch & fears of recession. I never expected that the Gay Travel market would become as affected as it has, but that market is still there and always will be it is reportedly worth a staggering £3 billion a year. There has always been plenty of room in the market for more than one Gay Holiday Specialist, and I hope that both Mantrav & AMRO can help the customers who have been negatively affected by what has happened with Respect & Throb.

    If anyone does have any queries which I can help answer please don’t hesitate to email me

    Thanks for reading,

    Andrew Jones
    Director of Sales & Marketing
    Mantrav International Group

  5. What I don’t undertstand is why do you have to issue a statement telling everyone you’re financialy fine? Raises doubt in my mind!

  6. Out of business stories have really bad timing for gay tourism for Gran Canaria. Last winter it was already a big drop in gay visitors to Gran Canaria. A good news is that new Spanish destinations flourish and attract more and more crowd.
    We visited Torremolinos in August and were surprised it was so authentic Spanish with twice as many gay venues as in Gran Canaria.
    So a bad news for one is a good news for others..

  7. john cornthwaite 14 Jan 2010, 2:15pm

    having recently booked a holiday with mantrav i had nothing but trouble, flights where not booked , transfer was not booked we where also told by one of thier staff that the same had happened with several other people and that someone had got the sack over it. they also told us blatent lies, has anyone else had the same problems?

  8. John Wentworth 16 Jan 2010, 10:39pm

    We have used Mantrav 5 times and received fantastic service, can not fault them

    1. This story might be a bit old but only just read it, We had flights booked on a company that went bust, Mantrav was fantastic, they got our money back, we always us this company and never had a sigle miss hap at all, great service great people who care, and no I am not a employee.

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