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EU package holiday rules brought into the 21st century Jul 09, 2013 Category: News

Gone are the days when package holidays were booked from a brochure at a travel agents, so EU laws protecting travellers need to be updated as well.

Gone are the days when package holidays were booked from a brochure at a travel agents, so EU laws protecting travellers need to be updated as well, Malcolm Harbour MEP and Roberts Zile MEP, said today in response to European Commission proposals to update rules for package holidays.

Mr Harbour, Chairman of the European Parliament’s consumer protection committee, and Roberts Zile, European Conservatives and Reformists Group transport and tourism spokesman, welcomed the package which gives travellers stronger cancellation rights, clear information on liability to stop organisers and retailers passing responsibility back and forth, and a single point of contact in every travel agency for complaints.

Rules have also been proposed in the event of bankruptcy of a provider, which will see consumers given the right to a refund and to be repatriated. The proposals will also remove some outdated elements of the previous 1990 package travel directive, such as a requirement to reprint brochures, which will save an estimated €390 million per year.

Although just under a quarter of holidaymakers still buy a complete package, another 23 percent of travellers now buy ‘customised’ holidays where different elements are provided by different providers. The legal uncertainty surrounding these arrangements are so ambiguous that they can leave consumers confused as to the protection they are ensured.

UK Conservative MEP Malcolm Harbour said:

“Package holidays have moved on since 1990 but EU law has not. Gone are the days when all holidaymakers find their hotels in a brochure and book them at a travel agents.

“The internet has given people a wealth of choice, but EU law was designed for a pre-internet age and this has led to ambiguities when things go wrong.

“The new rules proposed by the commission would make passengers’ rights and operators’ responsibilities clearer.”

Latvian TB/LNNK MEP Roberts Zile said:

“People book package holidays because they want them to be as stress and risk-free as possible. The creation of customised packages provided by linked providers can often lead to travellers being uncertain who is responsible when something goes wrong.

“The proposals put forward by the commission will cut obligations that place unnecessary costs on travel operators, and provide protection for the 120 million European consumers who buy customised travel packages.”

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