New Directive on Package Travel: the latest news

June 8, 2015
Marieke Timmerman, Höcker Advocaten

On 28 MayHocker-logo, the European Union’s Competitiveness Council accepted the compromise proposal for a new European Directive on Package Travel after negotiations between representatives of the European Council and the European Parliament. However, it is still not official, as both the Parliament and the Council must, each separately, formally adopt the proposal. This is expected to take place before the end of 2015. And once the Directive has been formally adopted, it will have to be implemented in all national legislation. The Member States have 30 months to complete this process. Still, a big step has been taken in the legislative process.

Let me sum up a few important points of the proposal that was accepted in May:

1. Click-through sales: If consumers purchase various travel services by means of click-through sales, they will have the same protection as when they purchase a package. We can speak of click-through sales if at least two different types of travel services are purchased from linked online traders that transfer a passenger’s name, email address and payment details from one trader to the next. The second booking must take place within 24 hours of the first booking confirmation.

2. Linked travel arrangements: In earlier proposals this was referred to as Assisted Travel Arrangements. The term also refers to sales of services by different traders; however, these do not pass on the booking details to each other. Although such an arrangement is not regarded as a package, the purchaser will nevertheless have the same protection if the trader becomes insolvent. Any amounts paid must be refunded and if the insolvent trader is a carrier, it must provide for the repatriation of travellers.

3. If a traveller cannot get back home on account of unavoidable or exceptional circumstances (such as the volcanic ash cloud over Iceland in 2009), the tour operator must offer the traveller a maximum of three nights alternative accommodation, if possible in the same category.

4. Prices may only be increased if there are special reasons for it, such as rises in fuel prices or taxes. If prices increase by more than 8% (in an earlier proposal this was 10%), travellers must be offered another holiday or get their money back.

Each of these points raises other issues, and will lead to various problems when implementing the directive into Dutch law. News reports on our website will keep you informed of developments in the legislative process and the consequences of the new directive once it has officially been adopted.

About the authorMarieke Timmerman
Marieke Timmerman is a senior asociate at Höcker Advocaten and works in the company law and insolvency law division. Marieke has a particular interest in the travel industry and is specilised in travel law. She advises various clients in the sector, which has given her a broad knowledge of the numerous concerns they are required to deal with. Marieke is an active member of the International Forum of Travel and Tourism Advocates (IFTTA), the Dutch Travel Lawyers Association and the Dutch Insolvency Lawyers Association.