EU 'Package Holiday' rules brought into the 21st century

09-Jul-2013 @ 16:0

Jacqueline Foster Jacqueline Foster

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Gone are the days when package holidays were always booked from a brochure at a travel agents, so EU laws protecting travellers need to be updated, Malcolm Harbour MEP and Jacqueline Foster MEP said today in response to the European Commission proposals to revamp rules for 'Package Holidays'.

Mr Harbour, Chairman of the European Parliament's Consumer Protection Committee, and Mrs Foster, Conservative Spokesman on Transport and Tourism, gave a broad welcome to the package, which should give travellers clearer rules and information regarding the holidays that they have booked. If they have a complaint it should also prevent organisers and retailers passing responsibility back and forth, with a single point of contact in the company with which they have booked. Cancellation rights and better information on liability will also be addressed.

In addition, the proposals will also remove some outdated elements of the previous 1990 package travel directive, such as a requirement to reprint brochures, which will save an estimated €390 million per year.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 supplied by different providers. The legal uncertainty surrounding these arrangements can leave consumers confused as to the protection they are ensured.

Mrs Foster, Conservative MEP for North West England, said: “The means by which people book their holidays are evolving all the time and have changed out of all recognition in the past 15 or 20 years.

"The EU's approach to consumer protection for holidaymakers has not changed in that time. It no longer matches the realities of the modern world.

"That is why it must adapt and change. While being broadly supportive, we will want to ensure that the eventual new rules are balanced and proportionate, as we do not wish to unduly disadvantage any one type of holidaymaker or any one sector in the travel industry. There must be fairness all round."

Malcolm Harbour, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, 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."
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