Package Travel Directive proposals announced

Europe wants to change how holidaymakers are protected
Europe wants to change how holidaymakers are protected

The European Commission (EC) has unveiled proposals for changes to the Package Travel Directive which aims to financially protect more holidaymakers.

In rules that aim to bring the regulations “into the digital age” since their introduction in 1990, the plans would see packaged holidays, dynamic packaging bookings and travel assisted bookings covered for financial protection

Its proposals included a stricter control on price surcharges with a 10% cap while customers will have the right to cancel a holiday before departure for free of charge in the event of a natural disaster, civil unrest or similar situation.

The regulations also aim to create a level playing field for operators and will provide EU-wide rules on the information, liability and recognition of insolvency protection schemes.

This will protect agents and progress in adding airline click-through bookings into the scheme.

Managed business travel will be excluded from the directive, while tour operators will not be required to reprint brochures.

The EC said the changes would financially protect another 120 million holidaymakers.

“In the 1990s, most Europeans picked out a pre-arranged package deal from a brochure and booked it at their local travel agent. But times have changed and we need to update the rules to keep pace with a changing market. EU package travel rules need to be fit for the digital age and meet consumers’ expectations. Today we are boosting protection for millions of consumers booking customised travel arrangements,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner.

The EC will now await suggestions from the travel industry before settling on new regulations in September, although any changes will not come into effect until 2016.

ABTA has pushed for further reforms into the Directive, while TUI Travel welcomed the news.

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