The lowcosttravelgroup went under on the 15th July. When a large travel firm collapses, or if an event causes 1,000s of holidays to be cancelled, you can rely on two things.
There will be a story about a ruined honeymoon, and there will be examples of lazy journalism.
At journalism school, you are taught how important it is to write about the facts. A quick Google for the definition of the word ‘fact’ shows that it means;
something that is known to have happened or to exist, especially something for which proof exists, or about which there is information: something that is known to have happened or to exist, especially something for which proof exists, or about which there is information:
However, I have yet to find one article, published in its original form*, about the lowcost collapse or any other holiday story, that is 100% factual.
Think about it, these journalists and consumer experts (or their ghost writers) are giving you advice that doesn’t fit the above definition of the word ‘fact’ when applied to the whole article.
The Association of British Travel Agents
The one thing everyone gets wrong is calling ABTA ‘the Association of British Travel Agents’. This hasn’t been the case since 2007. That’s nine years of experts giving travellers advice and they can’t even get this simple bit right.
How will they cope when it gets complicated?
If you visit the ABTA website, you will find that the organisation changed its name from Association of British Travel Agents to ABTA Ltd.
Yes, I’m being pedantic, but experts shouldn’t make the same error all the time. It makes me think that there may be other errors in the article.
Errors that could cost the reader money and their holiday.
I thought I was wrong
I have to be honest, after seeing Sean Tipton from the ABTA press office on BBC News last Saturday (23/7/16), I was beginning to believe that I was wrong about this.
The great , reliable and trustworthy, BBC had displayed ‘Association of British Travel Agents’ on the screen.
So I called Sean to check.
He said: “We changed our name about eight or nine years ago to ABTA, the Travel Association, purely because we’ve always represented tour operators as well as travel agents.”
It’s as almost as though if everyone says it, then it must be true.
You would have thought that someone at the BBC would double-check before putting the caption up.
However, no one at Which?, the i newspaper, moneysavingexpert.com, BBC, ITV News, et al, feel that this check is necessary. It’s as though everyone has a template for travel stories, which gets reused when required.
This is ok, as long as it’s right in the first place.
So, if the experts do get this very basic point wrong, how reliable will they be when it comes to explaining the complicated regulations?
The best person to trust about travel regulations is a travel agent (I know, I used to be one), not someone who could be talking about travel today, and a lost cat tomorrow…
*I did point out the ABTA error in an article on moneysavingexpert.com and it was altered to remove the incorrect statement.