THE RESTRICTED choice of holidays offered by high-street travel agencies has been attacked by Chris Kirker, chairman of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO). He said agencies' recommendations were too heavily biased towards their parent tour operators' products, regardless of their suitability.

'How would you feel if you bought - on a travel agent's personal recommendation - a holiday from a multiple retailer, only to discover afterwards that the real reason you were sold that holiday was because of a secret incentive agreement between the travel agent and the tour operator concerned?' he asked.

He also criticised the 11 per cent discounts being offered by the multiple- agency chains, which he said were funded by the hidden requirement to pay 'two or three times the fair price for obligatory insurance', and by demands from the agencies involved for tour operators to pay additional commission to have their brochures racked.

The AITO Directory of Real Holidays, listing the holidays of 140 member companies, is available free from AITO, St Margaret's Road, Twickenham, Middlesex TW1 1RG.

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