The new directive on Travel Package has been recently passed by the European Parliament in light of new traveling and bookings trends. Since the old directive was first brought to the fore in 1990 it was time to cater for the different modes of booking which are now utilised by consumers and to update the relative laws. Indeed, holidaymakers often resort to online booking instead of booking their flights and other services with a local travel agent.
Once the directive is implemented into the laws of the Member States, package holidays bought online for a fixed price and comprising of a flight, a car-hire and a hotel booking will now enjoy the same safety nets which are provided to consumers who buy travel package deals from a travel agent. Thus, the main intention behind this reform was to instil a sense of consistency within the online travel market.
In essence, the definition of a “package” within the Package Travel Directive will now include holiday deals purchased online and the directive will also introduce a new type of travel booking trend which is referred to as “linked travel arrangements”. This encompasses purchases carried out through a string of click-through sales generated across a number of websites which are often linked in order to provide other services.
Moreover, the European Parliament holds that a consumer who provides his personal details which are then forwarded to different traders and in turn another contract is settled within twenty-four hours, such a series of contracts will now be considered to be package deals.
To further protect travellers, agents and holiday planners will be obliged to provide all the necessary information so as to shed light on the terms and conditions attached to a contract and to inform travellers about their rights. Agents and holiday planners will also be duty bound to make available the estimated departure and the arrival times and to inform travellers about the likelihood on incurring further costs.
Additionally travellers will also have the right to cancel a contract and request a refund if the package costs increase in excess of 8% or if inevitable circumstances such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters take place at the traveller’s chosen holiday destination.
During the course of the entire legislative procedure the Members of the European Parliament also took into consideration the business and commercial aspects of this directive. Indeed, the aim behind this reform is to safeguard and to further strengthen the tourism industry’s economic momentum.