USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program

USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program

A travel vacation should not only be an unforgettable experience, but offer solid peace of mind. That’s why USTOA created a consumer protection fund which protects consumers who book with our Active Members, U.S. based tour operators.

From the association’s inception in 1972, USTOA’s chief goal has been to help protect the consumer against losses arising from bankruptcy, insolvency or cessation of business of an Active Member of the association. In order to provide travelers with peace of mind and a solid financial safety net that protects their vacation investment, the USTOA has maintained a $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program. 

How Will I Know A Tour Operator Is a Participant of the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program?

When you see the USTOA Active Member logo with the emblem identifying the $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program, you can be confident that it represents a company that upholds the travel industry’s highest standards.

How Does This Work?

Each USTOA Active Member is required to participate in the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program by posting $1 million security in the form of a bond or letter of credit or U.S. treasury bill. The security, to be held by the United States Tour Operators Association Inc. Tour Depositors Trust, is solely for use in reimbursing consumers for tour payments or deposits lost in the event of:

  • A USTOA Active Member bankruptcy
  • A USTOA Active Member insolvency
  • A USTOA Active Member cessation of business
  • Failure of a USTOA Active member to refund consumer deposits or payments within 120 days following its cancellation of a tour(s) or vacation packages(s) or its material failure to complete performance of a tours(s) or vacation packages(s).

In some cases, such as one of the larger tour operators becoming insolvent, the $1 million may not cover all losses. Also, some tour operator brands share coverage under their corporate owner's $1 million security. In addition to financial protection, USTOA also offers travelers invaluable assistance in the event of Active Member insolvency:

  • USTOA will ask all its member companies to provide assistance to affected travelers in whatever way they can, on a voluntary basis.
  • USTOA will inform consumers on their rights of recovery and provide a consumer information center through its website (, keeping travelers apprised of latest developments.
  • USTOA will serve as a clearinghouse of information, apprising travelers and the press of options available.

Can Associate Members Participate in the Program?

No, currently, the requirement of the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program is only for USTOA Active Members.

What is Covered?

The USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program protects consumers for up to $1,000,000 in the aggregate from loss of deposits and payments for tours or vacation packages in the event of a USTOA Active Member bankruptcy, insolvency or cessation of business or the material failure to complete performance of tour(s) or vacation package(s).

When can I file a claim?

A claim can be filed when a tour operator declares bankruptcy, becomes insolvent or ceases business, or 120 days following the failure of a tour operator to refund a payment or deposit after a cancellation or material failure to complete performance of a tour(s) or vacation package(s). The program covers tours or vacation packages purchased up to seven (7) days following official notification to USTOA of an Active Member’s bankruptcy, insolvency or cessation of business.

If I decide to cancel, does the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program cover me?

No. Individual trip cancellation insurance is available, and may be obtained through your travel agent or tour operator.

What if I've already paid for a tour or vacation package in advance, and the tour operator goes bankrupt before the scheduled departure date?

You are covered within the limits of the coverage as long as your payment or deposit was made within seven (7) days following notification to USTOA of the bankruptcy, insolvency or cessation of business.

Is there an extra charge for this coverage?

No. Each time you travel with a USTOA Active Member company, your deposits and payments for tours and vacation packages are automatically protected up to the limits of the coverage at no extra charge.

How is a claim made?

Once a USTOA Active Member has declared bankruptcy, become insolvent or demonstrated cessation of business, USTOA makes claim forms available on its website ( Claim forms associated with a current Active Member may also be obtained on the USTOA website or from the USTOA Executive Office located at 345 Seventh Ave., Suite 1801, New York, NY 10001, or by calling the association at (212) 599-6599, or via e-mail to [email protected].

Please note that claims can only be made if it concerns a current USTOA Active Member Tour Operator: not all U.S. based tour operators are members of USTOA and participants of the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program.

Is there a deadline for filing claims?

Yes. Claims must be filed no later than ninety (90) days after the bankruptcy, insolvency, cessation of business or failure to refund on account of cancellation or non-performance, as the case may be.

Who will reimburse me?

Reimbursements will be made through USTOA or its authorized representative.

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