Are Tour Operators Deserving Of Our Trust?
Are any of us trusting enough to place the health and safety of ourselves and loved ones in the hands of a tour operator 100%? Can we absolutely guarantee that they will respect their legal duty of care to us at all times and even make sure this is respected at the property we travel to in a foreign country? The unfortunate answer to both questions would have to be ‘NO’! As the case surrounding the deaths of Bobby and Christi Shepherd highlighted very recently, when a court found that Thomas Cook had indeed breached the duty of care owed to these two children and their family.
The family had been staying at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel, on the Greek island of Corfu, where they were overcome with carbon monoxide fumes that tragically went on to take their young lives. An EU legal directive, which came into effect back in 1992, clearly sets out that every tour operator is legally bound to ensure that the accommodation they send their customers to is completely safe at all times. This was simply not the case where the Shepherd family were concerned.
Unfortunately it is not uncommon for some tour operators to actively avoid their responsibilities or to cut corners if they are in a position to. There are clear legal requirements and indeed ramifications for tour operator neglect, however these obligations can at times seem onerous on tour operators and deemed costly, so taking the risk to avoid the expense is more common than it should be.
Alas, we must all appreciate tour operators are in the business to make a profit, a factor that can at times cause misjudgement and in the more unscrupulous just plain old customer exploitation to maximise returns in an industry that continues to be more and more competitive with travellers increasingly becoming price sensitive.
Like we always recommend, do your research when selecting a tour operator, stick with reputable operators that are actively seen to have a solid industry standing, usually afford by third party industry awards and acknowledgements. Realise that you are placing an awful lot of trust in tour operators when you travel abroad with your loved ones and therefore elect to travel with a company who you know will respect and fulfil their legal and customer care obligations to the best of their abilities.