In the event of a problem, the onus is on the operator to sort it out and/or provide a refund.

However, many holidays sold online and outwardly appearing to be packages have not in fact offered this level of protection.

They might pull together deals from airlines and resorts/liveaboards and sell them in a single transaction, but because the contracts themselves were separate these were not fully protected packages in law.

From today (1 July), with the implementation of the Package Travel & Linked Travel Arrangement Regulations 2018, any UK holiday-provider offering packages becomes liable to the customer for its performance.

The new rules, which implement an EU directive from 2015, apply only to trips purchased from 1 July onwards. Any holiday now advertised as a package, or including more than one of the three holiday components - transport, accommodation and other tourist services (such as scuba-diving) - and paid for in a single payment is considered a package.

The new law also applies when you buy one component of your holiday online and are then prompted to click through to buy another using the same payment-card details - this is defined as a Linked Travel Arrangement.

Divers wishing to ensure that their holiday is protected under the new regulations should check that their payment is being made to a UK-based company, and that the booking has ATOL protection.

For divers preferring to buy their travel, accommodation and diving or other services separately, it remains up to them to insure against problems occurring with any individual component of their holiday.

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