Modernised package holiday rules will give greater protection to travellers, say Conservative MEPs

27-Oct-2015 @ 13:45

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Travellers buying a package holidays online will now get the same protection as those buying from traditional travel agents under new EU-wide rules, backed today by Conservative MEPs.

East of England MEP Vicky Ford, who chaired the committee which scrutinised the changes, said: "These new rules bring our consumer rights into the digital age and will reassure holiday makers at the time of purchase."

The changes update the current EU rules on package holidays, which date back to 1990.

Since then, the growth in internet sales has substantially changed how travellers plan and buy holidays, with more consumers opting for "click-through" deals offered by travel providers linking with other tourism operators.

The deal clarifies holidaymakers' rights by enabling them to cancel a package deal contract if its price rises by more than 8%, and offers help if they encounter difficulties or transport home if a tour operator goes bust.

Online package organisers would have to obtain insolvency protection, so as to ensure that holidaymakers whose travel organiser goes bust while they are on a trip are refunded in full and repatriated.

If "unavoidable" and "unforeseen" events such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks make it impossible for traveller to return home on time, the organiser would also have to pay for a stay of a maximum of three nights while bringing them home.

Mrs Ford added: "For many years we have had the ABTA system which makes sure travellers are not stranded if a UK tour operator goes bankrupt. Other countries across Europe will now establish similar systems.

"Holidays should be and fun and relaxing and it is important that these new rules provide reassurance for all holiday makers that they have basic rights if their travel operator fails."

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