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More protection for holiday-makers choosing package deals - 10/07/2013

People on a sunny beach © EU

New rules strengthen existing rights Europeans going on traditional package holidays, and extend protection to those creating their own holiday package by choosing which components to put together.

Gone are the days when everyone booked their holiday over a desk at a travel agent, after poring through piles of brochures to choose the perfect package deal.

Holiday-makers themselves now play a more active role in putting together their break, often selecting the various components – such as hotel and flight dates – online.

The new package holiday rules take account of this, bringing the existing package travel rules, agreed in 1990, into the digital age.

A milestone themselves, the original rules ensure that anyone wishing to book a holiday receives all relevant information before signing the contract, that travellers can get their money back if parts of the holiday are changed, and that a booking may be transferred to another person.

The rules also put the onus on the organiser to make alternative arrangements if part of the package cannot be provided.

The new rules go further, by:

  • introducing stricter controls on surcharges and requiring operators to pass on price reductions
  • making sure information on liability is available in plain language
  • giving holiday-makers the right to claim compensation for ‘immaterial’ damage when a holiday is not as it should have been
  • ensuring there is a single contact point in case something goes wrong with any part of the holiday.

The protection has also now been extended – from those purchasing pre-defined packages, to those combining travel arrangements – people who buy two or more services from the same supplier, under one contract, but choose which components to put together.

While some 23% of holiday-makers are still going on traditional package holidays, an additional 20% are today putting together their own packages.

Those making completely independent travel arrangements (54% of holiday-makers) are not covered by these rules, but other EU rules on passenger rights and consumer protection still apply.

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