Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Upgrade to the Package Travel Directive

On 28 May 2015 the Council accepted the new Package Travel Directive that has been negotiated for quite a few years among the European institutions (since 2007). The goal of the revision was to modernise the existing provisions, adjusting them to the increased online market for selling travel products and services, as well as to more independent and central role consumers take in setting up their travel plans (Protecting independent travellers). This means that the new rules will, at least partially, cover also such travel arrangements where consumers decide themselves which of the presented travel options to put together into a package. Additionally, travellers will have a stronger cancellation right - even allowing them to cancel their holiday for any reason upon paying a reasonable cancellation fee. Contrary to the previous rules the new Directive provides for liability of the organizer of the package travel if things go wrong (the retailer may only be liable aside the organizer). This should eliminate the uncertainty as to whom to hold liable since the previous rules allowed the Member States to choose between indicating the organizer or the retailer of the package as the liable party. Businesses should also appreciate the the protection against insolvency they need to arrange for will now be recognized throughout the EU and they will not need to apply for various insolvency schemes in different countries they operate.

The European Parliament is expected to vote this month on these new rules (even though they are not on its agenda for either the current or the next plenary session) and the Council would vote on them in the fall (EU Council backs new EU rules giving more protection to over 120 million holidaymakers).

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