they book their package holiday, thanks to an Order requiring tour
operators and travel agents to display details of ownership in shops,
brochures, stationery and advertising material.
consumer affairs minister Kim Howells. Commenting on the benefits
the Order will bring to consumers, he said:
'Consumers need to be well informed. Well informed consumers can make
a better choice of foreign package holiday, and so are likely to be
happier with their final purchase. This Order will ensure that
consumers have more information, which in turn will sharpen
competition in the foreign package holidays market. Effectiveness of
markets depends on consumer access to reliable, accurate and easily
'The Order will require vertically integrated travel groups with more
than 5% of the tour operator or travel agency markets to give notice
of ownership links on the outside of their travel agency shops, on
notices inside those shops, on brochures of the group's tour
operators, on business stationery and in advertisements.
'Notices on the outside of shops are particularly important.
Consumers should have information about ownership links before they
decide which travel agents to visit. I believe that clear and
prominent notices on shop windows are an effective and proportionate
way to implement this part of the remedy. I do not regard notices on
doors as sufficiently effective. I am not requiring companies to
change shop fascias, although they can comply with the Order in this
way if they wish.
'The Order will come into force on 9 October. I will be asking the
Director General of Fair Trading to write to the vertically
integrated groups to ask what steps they are taking to comply with
the Order. If any response is not satisfactory, the Order gives me
the power to give statutory directions requiring action from those
The Order remedies the adverse finding in the 1997 Monopolies and
Mergers Commission report on the supply of foreign package holidays.
1. The Monopolies and Mergers Commission report 'Foreign Package
Holidays: A report on the supply of tour operators' services and
travel agents' services in relation to foreign package holidays' (CM
3813) was published on 19 December 1997.
2. The director general of fair trading was unable to obtain
acceptable undertakings from those companies which at the time were
vertically integrated groups with more than 5% of the tour operator
or travel agency markets: Thomson Travel Group Limited, Airtours plc,
Thomas Cook Group Limited and First Choice Holidays and Flights.
3. Under section 56 of the Fair Trading Act 1973, the secretary of
state has the power to make an order to remedy the adverse effects
identified by the Competition Commission in a monopoly report.
4. Copies of the Foreign Package Holidays (Tour Operators and Travel
Agents) Order 2000 will be available from the Stationery Office.