The tourist sector is an important part of the EU’s economy, generating 10% of its GDP. The internet and the rise of low-cost airlines have changed both business approaches and consumer behaviour patterns. Instead of traditional pre-arranged packages, many tourists now either combine the different elements of their holidays themselves or purchase customised packages.
The existing Directive on package travel grants consumers numerous rights, in particular with regard to pre-contractual information. However, as it dates back to 1990, it covers only traditional, pre-arranged packages.
This legal framework has been further developed by the Court of Justice of the EU which strengthened consumer rights in the event of tour-operator insolvency and loss of enjoyment during holiday.
The 1990 Directive provides for minimum harmonisation, allowing Member States to enact more consumer-friendly rules.
In July 2013, the Commission presented a proposal for a new Directive on package travel and assisted travel arrangements. It is aimed at adapting the legal framework to the challenges of the digital era. The European Parliament has supported the idea of reforming the law on package travel in two resolutions.