Ep. 246 — How the Regulatory Environment is Impacting Tour Operators – with Martin Alcock

Martin shares insights into the VAT (Value Added Tax) system in Europe and how it affects UK tour operators, particularly since Brexit. We learn about Tom’s (Tour Operators Margin Scheme) and its role in simplifying VAT calculations for businesses operating across European countries. However, with the UK’s departure from the EU, outbound travel is now zero-rated, raising concerns about potential administrative challenges as different member states impose varying VAT registration requirements.

Our guest also touches on the vital services his consultancy provides, including helping tour operators navigate regulatory complexities, obtain licenses, arrange financial security, and negotiate with banking and merchant providers. We’ll explore the Tourpreneur Facebook community and the value of leveraging third-party partnerships for business growth.

In addition, Martin stresses the importance of financial planning, working capital management, and developing flexible budgets. He reveals how his team assists clients with obtaining funding, creating financial models, and crafting terms and conditions tailored to their needs. We’ll also delve into consumer protection legislation and the role of trade associations like Apter.

So, if you’re a tour operator or travel professional looking to stay ahead in the ever-changing regulatory landscape, then this is the episode for you. Get ready to gain valuable insights and practical strategies as we dive into the impact of the regulatory environment on tour operators with Martin Alcock.

Timestamp Overview

00:00 Tourism consultant, Martin Alcock, discussed his work with travel companies, helping them navigate regulations, finance, and strategy. He specializes in obtaining licenses and negotiating corporate changes. Martin also emphasizes the importance of financial security for operators and offers assistance with banking and merchant providers.

05:47 “Do you need it? Legal obligations.”

10:29 Consumer protection legislation ensures compensation for consumers. Liability extends to health and safety concerns. Packages are defined by combining services.

14:10 Be aware of the risks; protect yourself.

18:52 Flexible insurance gives operators variable cost option.

22:08 Trust accounts essential due to insurance failures.

24:21 Third party scrutiny important for business success.

29:41 Temporary VAT exemption for UK outbound travel.

34:00 Startups need terms and conditions, lawyers help.

37:25 Legal responsibility for refunds when selling packages.

42:47 Regulatory space offers positive and negative scenarios.

45:51 Tour operator job complex; reach out for help.