Europe catches up with rules for package holidays bought online

Marion Dakers
THE EUROPEAN Commission plans to shake up rules covering package holidays, aiming to cut red tape for companies and catch up with the growing number of customers who book on the internet.

The commission said it will remove “outdated” parts of its 1990 directive on package deals, including the obligation to reprint brochures if the price of a holiday changes. This measure alone will save firms €390m (£336m), the EC said in a statement yesterday.

Managed business travel will also be removed from the rules, saving an estimated €76m a year.

The changes will also strengthen holidaymakers’ rights to a refund if one of the companies providing the break goes bust while they are abroad.

TUI Travel said it supported the update, which intends to help the 120m customers a year that book customised holidays through one or more provider online.

But the Association of Britain Travel Agents said the changes, while welcomed by the industry, are unlikely to come into effect until at least 2016.

“ABTA has long called for the Package Travel Directive to be revised and updated as the current system of protection is inconsistent and confusing both for consumers and for travel businesses,” it said in a statement yesterday.