Changes to EC rules on package holidays on way

The European Commission will publish draft changes to the Package Travel Directive by the end of this year or early 2013, says Abta, and the association wants members to bolster its lobbying effort.

The changes will extend rules governing package-holiday sales “to get more consumers to buy packages”, says Abta, “to clear up confusion” and to “ensure the same level of protection for holidaymakers across Europe”.

The EC’s Package Travel Directive (PTD) forms the basis of the UK’s Package Travel Regulations (PTRs).

The Department for Transport’s introduction in April of regulations extending the Atol consumer-protection scheme to Flight-Plus holidays was partly in anticipation of Europe-wide changes to come.

Flight-Plus holidays, often referred to as ‘dynamic packages’ of a flight plus a room, sit outside the PTRs. The Flight-Plus Atol extends consumer protection to these bookings without extending any of the other liabilities on package-holiday providers.

Abta has stepped up its lobbying effort in Brussels and yesterday told members: “We expect the EC to publish proposals on these changes later in 2012 or early 2013.”

Now it wants members to make their views known and share any evidence they have.

Abta said: “We expect the Commission will propose a number of provisions. Some of these are cause for concern.”

The proposals are expected to include a right to a cooling-off period for consumers after buying a holiday – a move Abta fears would reduce the current booking process to chaos. Members of the European Parliament have sought to introduce such measures in other consumer legislation.

Abta told its members: “We have put forward robust views and evidence on these issues in order to influence proposals. We will continue to make representations in Brussels, but it is important we seek your views on further changes.”

Association members can submit their views by email: ptd@abta.co.uk

The EC has been discussing a revision of the directive since 2009. Once agreed, the changes could be in force by 2015.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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