The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has urged the UK government and EU authorities to implement exceptional flexibility around consumer refunds to alleviate the unbearable pressure on the travel and tourism sector.
Research conducted by WTTC shows that one million tourism jobs are now being lost in the UK, with at least 6.4 million across the EU and a staggering 75 million globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
WTTC is calling for EU governments to show exceptional flexibility around the existing package travel requirements, which are not fit for purposes in the current crisis and should be suspended at least until August.
Consumer protection will be unaffected, but travel agents and tour operators will have more time to refund those customers choosing to cancel their existing bookings. The current 14-day timeline for refunds is putting enormous burdens on businesses in the travel sector and will lead to major bankruptcies. These, in turn, will lead to more claims by consumers on credit card firms and ultimately government bonded schemes.
Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of WTTC said: “This measure should be implemented immediately and help lift the already crushing financial pressure on travel organisations and save the millions of livelihoods that depend on them.”