11 Feb 2014
PTC Opener John on Booking a package holiday is a big deal, something eagerly awaited. Yet it often is also one of the most arduous. Now a new proposed directive would help EU consumers cut through red tape, while travel businesses would receive a fairer, more level playing field to compete.
John off It´s about making travel bookings fit for the Digital Age. It's an age where Europe's 120 million holidaymakers are increasingly booking their holidays online. These tailored offers often involve more than one provider, which of course affect liability.
The EPP Group is pushing the new Directive as a way to bring more transparency to the whole travel booking industry. Hans-Peter Mayer is EPP Group Rapporteur on package travel.
Interview MEP Hans-Peter Mayer, EPP Group Rapporteur It´s really balanced. The consumer has more rights and the retailers, the traders, organisers have clear definitions, clear options, clear responsibilities. And we don´t need so many court decisions. We have it clear now in the European law.
Footage John off Pre-arranged packages, customised packages and assisted travel arrangement are also affected. The rights of people too ill or incapacitated to travel last minute will also be strengthened. The biggest winners of the Directive, Mayer said, are those travellers who are growing increasingly savvy online to check out various offers.
Interview MEP Mayer
What kind of rights do they have if they book via internet? Because in a room in an office they can have an explanation and so on. In the Internet it´s from the consumer to the Internet, not to a person. So they cannot ask and therefore they must have a very broad information for their rights.
Footage John off The proposal dictates that for buyers of traditional and customised packages, there will be stricter controls on price surcharges, with a 10% cap on price increases.
There will also be improved cancellation rights, with consumers able to enjoy more flexibility by being able to terminate the contract before leaving home. Managed business travel would be excluded from the Directive. But there would be new insolvency protections for consumers whose travel agency goes out of business.
Interview MEP Mayer Especially the question for information for extraordinary circumstances for insolvency of the retailer or trader. And if the prices are going up or down we have special regulations. And I think it is very good for the consumers.
Footage John off There will also be better information on liability. Consumers will need to be informed that the organiser is responsible for the proper performance of all included services.
PTC Close John on The EPP's Hans-Peter Mayer and other proponents say consumer rights must be fully protected, no matter how holidays are booked. This Directive will go a long way to giving holidaymakers the peace of mind that a vacation is meant to provide in the first place.
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Headline EU legislation eases travel for consumers and businesses
Description The EPP Group is pushing for a new travel package Directive as a way to bring more transparency and ease of use to the travel booking industry. After clearing the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, the full Parliament is set to pass it in its March Plenary session.
Tags European Parliament, EPP Group, Package Travel, Consumer rights, Hans-Peter Mayer
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