With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for package holiday makers.
Not so long ago, if you wanted to buy a package holiday, you went to a tour operator or travel agency. Nowadays, the internet is the place to buy travel services. In response to this development, in 2015, the EU decided to adapt and extend the rules protecting package holiday makers. The new provisions apply to trips lasting more than 24 hours or including an overnight stay, and combining at least two different types of travel service (transport, accommodation, car rental, etc.) charged at an inclusive price. Three types of travel combination are concerned: traditional pre-arranged package holidays, customised packages, and linked travel arrangements.
Before you sign a package holiday contract, you are entitled to receive complete information on the main aspects of the trip, such the organiser’s contact details, and passport and health requirements, and optional travel insurance. If you have to cancel your trip, you have the right to transfer your package to someone else, but you might have to pay extra costs. If the organiser modifies the package content significantly, or increases its cost by more than 8 %, you have the option of either accepting the changes, choosing an alternative package, or getting a refund without a termination fee.
If you get into difficulties during your trip, you have the right to assistance. Liability for the entire package has to be clearly specified, making it easier for you to address a request or complaint to the organiser in case of non-compliance or damage sustained. These new package holiday provisions are compulsory as of 1 July 2018.
- European Commission’s Directorate General for Justice and Consumers website on ‘Package travel Directive’, https://ec.europa.eu/info/consumers/travel-and-timeshare-law/package-travel-directive_en
- EPRS publication on ‘Major challenges for EU tourism and policy responses’, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI(2017)603932