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Package Travel

The Package Travel Directive (Council Directive 90/314/EEC ) was adopted in 1990. The Directive has been an important cornerstone in the protection of European consumers going on holidays.

The Directive covers pre-arranged holiday packages which combine at least two of the following:

  • transport
  • accommodation
  • other tourist services not ancillary to transport or accommodation and accounting for a significant proportion of the package

Consumers are protected where: (a) at least two of the above elements are sold at an inclusive price and (b) the service covers a period more than 24 hours or includes overnight stay.

The Directive defines a range of the organiser’s and retailer’s obligations and liabilities as well as the related consumer rights. The Member States have been free to add more stringent rules to protect consumers in their national laws.

To learn more about the Directive, click here

The development of the Internet and the emergence of low-cost air carriers have revolutionised the way in which consumers organise their holidays. An increasing number of EU citizens now arrange their holidays themselves, instead of buying pre-arranged travel packages. As a result of these developments, the number of consumers who are protected under the Package Travel Directive when going on holiday has been falling steadily. In the UK, for example, it is estimated that less than 50% of passengers on leisure flights are protected under the Directive, compared to 98% in 1997. The new market trends, such as websites allowing holiday-makers to put together their own "dynamic packages", have also created legal grey zones and uncertainty for both businesses and consumers. Thus, the Package Travel Directive, which dates back to 1990, needs an overhaul so that it better reflects modern consumers' needs and new business models.

The Package Travel Directive is one of eight directives covered by the Review of the Consumer Acquis. However, given its sector specific character, the conclusion was drawn at an early stage of the preparatory work of the proposal for a Directive on Consumer Rights pdf that package travel issues should be treated separately and not be integrated in this proposal.

In 2007 the Commission published a working document, Commission Working Document pdf , to set out the main regulatory problems in the area of package travel and to consult stakeholders on issues related to the Directive. The consultation showed a strong support for its revision. The outcome of the consultation is presented in this summary of responsespdf. ( see also List of responses ).

In January 2009 the Commission launched a study "Study on Consumer Detriment in the area of Dynamic Packages" pdf, which focuses on measuring consumer detriment in the area of the so called "dynamic packages" (travel packages put together at the consumer's demands).

Against this background, the Commission launched a public consultation on the revision of the Directive in November 2009. The consultation is now closed. While the consultation in 2007 sought to outline the problems with the existing Directive, this consultation focused on possible ways of solving the main problems with the existing package travel rules. It also aimed to quantify the impact of various possible legislative options. The outcome of the consultation is presented in this summary of responses pdf
( See also List of responses ).

On 22 April 2010 The European Commission held a full-day stakeholders' workshop on the revision of the Package Travel Directive (90/314/EEC. The workshop took place at the Albert Borschette Conference Centre in Brussels. The aim of the workshop was to discuss the policy options which have been identified during the revision process.

Recordings of the webstreaming are available:

Morning session
Afternoon session

The written comments on the policy options can be also sent by e-mail to JLS-communication-E5@ec.europa.eu until 3rd May 2010.

After considering the feedback from consumers, civil society, national authorities and business, the Commission will assess the different policy options, with the aim of presenting a possible proposal for revising the current legislation at the beginning of 2011.


Other useful related publications:


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Timeshare

What is "timeshare"?

Timeshare is the annual right to use accommodation during 1 or more weeks in a holiday property or several properties. In Europe, there are approximately 1500 timeshare resorts.

What is the EU doing about it?

The EU regulates aspects of timeshare, long-term holiday products, resale and exchange contracts.

New products and contracts were emerging that were not regulated. That was causing problems to consumers as evidenced by complaints on:

  • Timeshare-like products e.g. timeshare in canal boats, cruise-ships and caravans or timeshare contracts for less than 3 years;
  • Holiday discount clubs;
  • Resale and exchange of timeshare schemes.

EU legislation on timeshare

In 2009 the new Directive 2008/122/EC replaced the old Timeshare Directive 94/47/EC with clearer and simpler rules.

The new Directive covers the market changes and new products e.g. holiday clubs, resale and exchange.

Key points of the new Directive

  • Full harmonisation;
  • Detailed rules on pre-contractual information;
  • Cooling-off period is 14 calendar days;
  • Prohibits traders or any third party from asking consumers for deposits, advance payment, guarantees, reservation of money on accounts, explicit acknowledgement of debt or any other during the cooling-off period;
  • Specific payment rules for long-term holiday product contracts;
  • Compulsory penalties (national) if the trader does not comply with the national rules implementing the Directive.

When did the new rules come into force?

The Directive came into force on 23 February 2009. EU countries have 2 years from that date to transpose it into national law. Several are late.

EU countries' transposition

Related information

 
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