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hi,
i am trying to understand what is required to start as tour operator/organizer in England,
particularly if any license or qualification is required once i have registered the company?

Here in Italy where i am, it is a kind of impossible unless you employ a tecnical director (person who has a specific qualification, and i can not) plus meet another half dozen conditions......the burocrazy is driving me crazy and i was about to give up. Then i understood that in uk it could be a bit easier but i am not sure as this qualification should not be required.
Could any of you please confirm this or help with any other useful info to start?
thank you all

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From my understanding I think whether you repackage/package products plays a part in this? What do you intend on selling/how will you be selling it? I've found ABTOL and ABTOT (and numerous others) to be quite helpful in the past (although I have received conflicting advice from them).
ciao,
thank you for taking time to answer to my question.
So far i have been doing consulting to foreigner tour company operating in my region, and now i would like to be able to sell my own tours, tours that i put together and personally operate.

So, my point is :
all i need in UK to be able to sell my packages is to register my company and be bonded?
is the bond the license itself? and that no other conditions are required, (well apart for complying with "The package travel regulation", the other regulations for consumer protection etc.. etc..)

I need to be sure about this.
Thanks
A
Hi Andrea

Two organisations can help at the smaller end - TOPP and TTI

Very long thread about both here
http://www.smallfishbigocean.com/forum/topics/2010148:Topic:467
(including comments from both organisations)

I know of at least one Italy based (but UK legal company) who are TTI members.
Hello Andrea
You may wish to consult a Trading Standards Office for advice in terms of company set-up requirements if that is what you are wanting clarity on www.tradingstandards.gov.uk . Because I'm not sure how far your research has taken you to date I'd also suggest a browse here www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/consumers/buying-selling/holidays-travel/p... and obviously you know about the Package Travel Regs. I see a suggestion was made that topp (offered by Travel & General) might be a solution for you. For topp to be an option the operator actually needs to be UK registered and UK based which I assume will not be the case here? Actually, come to think of it, ABTOT has that requirement too. Unfortunately also with the changes in the market topp is currently not taking on new start-up businesses - there is a minimum of two years' trading required and the underwriters want to see a certain level of turnover already being achieved. I am not sure what the TTA’s criteria is in this regard, or what IPP London’s stance is?
Hope that was in some way helpful.
~ Tina
Hi Tina
Thank you for your helpful answer.

I am concerned that you are no longer taking on new start-up customers. I always liked the TOPP scheme and this lack of choice (for new travel companies) will have quite an impact over the coming months, I expect.
ciao Tina, thanks for your help.
I have been looking up at these pages, and what i found is that apart for been bonded, and of course registered in UK no other requirement are mentioned to start up, and my concern is: is that all?

At this point my other question is:
if TOPP, like also ABTOI, and possibly others, requires 2 years of previous trading, does it mean that i can trade for 2 years without been bonded with any of this bodies as along as i have a trust account somewhere?

thanks
You haven't said much about the type of company you are thinking of starting and I (and I think some others) have assumed you want to have a company in the UK for an operation in Italy for tours and accommodation in Italy. If you are selling to UK consumers and your tours whether to Italy or elsewhere include a flight, you must have an ATOL license. This means you have to show the CAA (government body) that the customers money is protected. If you become a member of the TTA or TOPP, then they have an agreement which will let you use your membership for that, if not the most common way is to get a bond. In fact most UK tour operators don't have anything else except for an ATOL license, which will cover them under the EU regulations as long as every single package holiday they sell includes a flight.

If you are planning on selling any holidays which don't include flights but are still packages, then you need other protection. In the absence of the TOPP option, then your best bet is a trust account with the Travel Trust Association or International Passenger Protection, another insurance based system like TOPP . There are also other ways that you can get a trust account.

One of the major reasons start-ups go with TTA or TOPP is as a new travel company, it's very difficult to get a credit card account. They will guarantee the credit card facilities of their members. On the downside, being a member of either scheme costs more than the alternatives, and/or may tie up your cashflow which can be painful. I believe IPP have a deal too now.

By the way a company I know who runs a company in France (they do accommodation and tours in France) I know initially had a UK company with UK bonding but then reincorporated their company in France & did something there to make sure they meet their obligations under the EU package holiday regulations and said it's a lot easier, cheaper and friendlier on their cashflow. So maybe don't give up on the Italian route yet? Is there a reason why you can't employ someone who has that specific qualification In Italy to sort it out for you, or do you mean you have to have that person employed full time?!!!?
Hi Andrea

IPP can provide the insurance you require, however your company needs to be registered in the UK to be elligble for cover. Have a look at our website www.ipplondon.co.uk even if our product isnt exactly what you require you can give us a call and we can try and point you in the right direction.

Kind regards
Michelle Irvine
Underwriter
International Passenger Protection Ltd
020 8776 3756

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