60. Travel Business

Legal difficulties

First of all I want to thank everyone who gave me tips and advices after my last e-mail  It might look as if there is not much happening on the site at the moment, but behind the scenes there is still a lot going on.
In my last e-mail I wrote about my ambitions to start my own travel agency, Fairtravel4u. I had already started several preparations and was nervous, but positive to go back to Holland and work out the legal side of Fairtravel4u.

The last two weeks started positive with the legal registration of Fairtravel4u as a Dutch company and for me with learning how to setup an easy administration.
But after that, things went less easy. It started with the news that I have to pay even more tax money than expected. Shortly said because my company is too small and does business outside of Europe.

The second disappointment I was already prepared for, but I still had some hope to be able to get a small loan. “No, sorry you don’t have a job, property or anything that can guaranty us that you will be able to pay us back. Also to apply for an investments loan, we require that you earn a minimum of 25.000 Euro annual.” On estimation I will not be able to earn this within the next two years. Did you know that the average profit for tour agencies by banks is estimated at about 4.5% a year…

This afternoon I received a phone call about the latest problem. The insurance company where I was in process of getting a company-liability insurance called me back and told me that they couldn’t insure Fairtravel4u, because there are too many risks involved. Asking a bit further it turns out that several insurance companies don’t like to insure tour groups that are travelling around, because the high amount of possible risks and costs.
The insurance company also requires that Fairtravel4u becomes a member of SGR or ANVR (two big national organizations which offer many guaranties to customers). But Fairtravel4u is too small to become a member.
As a tour leader I am very well aware of the risks and responsibilities during a tour. I know that the responsibilities of me and my agency are to do our part of the job well and work with reliable local agencies. The biggest problems/ risks during tours usually involve nature disasters, political problems (strikes etc.) and transport problems. None is our responsibility…
Anyway, the insurance company told me that my costumers will likely first try to get money from Fairtravel4u and I guess they are right.
Whether they are right or not, the risks are too big, for them to insure Fairtravel4u and for me to continue with a travel agency without insurance.

For some of the difficulties I could have been better prepared if I had done more research. Unfortunately I had not seen it coming, I have not been looking for the things that I didn’t know I would find. This is an important lesson that I’ve just learned again.

Now I have about one work week left in Holland to find an insurance company where I can get an insurance for Fairtavel4u, or find a different solution to make everything working.
Two things are for sure: I can’t continue with a company without an insurance, but I still have hope to find a solution to the problems.

I keep you informed.
Saludos and thanks,
Martijn

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Fairtravel4u Travel Experiences
Kantoor van Fairtravel4u, Jan van Gentstraat 35, 1755 PB Petten, The Netherlands
Tel.: (0031) (0) 615292565, in Ecuador: +593 (0) 995693342
Registration in The Netherlands: Kamer van Koophandel nr: 52269698
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