NEW : Commission Working Document on package travel, package holidays and package tours.
The travel sector has evolved considerably in recent years. The development of the internet, the entry of low cost air carriers, the growth within the cruise industry and the increasing trend of consumers putting together their own holiday components from different organisers, instead of opting for packages pre-arranged by an organiser or a retailer, are some factors that need to be considered when reviewing the Council Directive 90/314/EEC on package travel, package holidays and package tours.
The purpose of this Commission Working Document is to set out the main regulatory problems in the area of package travel and to consult stakeholders on issues related to the Directive.
The Commission wishes to collect stakeholders’ views on the application of the Directive and its suitability for new market conditions and/or products. All interested parties are welcome to submit their replies to the questions by 1 October 2007. After the consultation period has ended, the Commission will publish a summary of the responses on this website.
The Package Travel Directive is one of eight directives covered by the Review of the Consumer Acquis. Horizontal issues affecting several directives have been consulted on separately by the Green Paper on the Review of the Consumer Acquis. In the light of the outcome of the consultation on the Green Paper and the input to the consultation in this working document, the Commission will consider the need for a reform of the Directive.
The Council Directive 90/314/EEC on package travel, package holidays and package tours
The Directive is designed to protect consumers who contract package travel in the EU. It covers the sale of a pre-arranged combination: Consumers are covered where, at least, two of these elements are sold or offered for sale at an inclusive price and the service covers a period of more than twenty-four hours or includes over-night accommodation.
The Directive contains rules concerning the liability of package organisers and retailers, who must accept responsibility for the performance of the services offered. There are some exceptions, for example cases of "force majeure", or similar circumstances which could be neither foreseen nor overcome. However, even in these cases the organiser must use his best endeavours to help consumers. The amount of compensation payable may be subject to certain limits but not to an unreasonable degree.
The Directive also prescribes rules on the information that must be given to consumers at different points in time. It contains specific requirements with regard to the content of brochures, where these are issued. For example, any brochure made available to consumers must indicate clearly and accurately the price, destination, itinerary and the means of transport used, type of accommodation, meal plan, passport and visa requirements, health formalities, timetable for payment and the deadline for informing consumers in the event of cancellation.
Consumers are entitled to cancel the contract if the organiser seeks to change the essential elements of the arrangements agreed. During the 20 days prior to departure the price stated in the contract cannot be increased.
There are provisions specifying the consumers' rights if, after departure, a significant proportion of the services contracted for is not provided or the organiser and/or retailer fail to perform in line with his obligations arising from the contract.
The Directive also contains provisions on the security to be provided by operators and covering repayment of the price and repatriation of consumers in the event of the operator's insolvency.
on Package Travel Contracts: Conclusions of the Expert Group, 13 February 2001
Report on the Implementation of Directive 90/314/EEC on Package Travel and Holiday Tours in the Domestic Legislation of EC Member States
EC Consumer Law Compendium: a Comparative Analysis and a database of the EU Consumer Law Acquis