LETTER TO THE EDITOR SENT TO LOCAL MEDIA IN SOUTH EAST ENGLAND
Many people will be considering buying package holidays online will be interested to know that under new EU rules will now get the same protection as those buying from traditional travel agents under new EU-wide rules. Consumers will benefit from these rules being updated for the digital age. 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.
We have had the ABTA system for many years which makes sure travellers are not stranded if a UK tour operator goes bankrupt. Other countries across Europe will now establish similar systems.
People ought to have fun and relax on holidays and these new rules provide reassurance for all holiday makers that they have basic rights if their travel operator fails.
If any of your readers would like to contact me about this change to buying holidays online email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Ashworth Conservative MEP for South East England