Business

New proposals to offer greater protection for online package holidays

The government believes its proposals for the Package Travel Regulations could help protect an extra 10 million UK package holidays booked online.
By Helen William, Press Association

Travellers who book package holidays online may have greater protection under stronger rules.

The government believes its proposals for the Package Travel Regulations could help protect an extra 10 million UK package holidays booked online.

Launching a six-week consultation on the proposals, consumer minister Margot James said: "While consumer laws protect millions of holidaymakers from the fallout if a travel company goes into administration, the way we book holidays has changed significantly in recent years and it is important that regulations are updated to reflect this."

There is a call for better information to be provided when booking making it clear what holidaymakers' rights to refund are along with an extension to current protections to cover the millions of UK travellers who buy package holidays online.

Ensuring the business that puts the package together is responsible for the entire holiday, even if some elements will be fulfilled by third parties has also been suggested as part of the regulations.

Abta, the travel association, says these proposed changes, aimed at ensuring people who book holidays online enjoy the same rights as those who book with a traditional travel agent, come as 50% of holiday arrangements are not currently financially protected if a company ceases trading.

This is linked to changes to how travel is booked such as using online booking sites to build personalised holidays.

The aim is to ensure that an extra 22% of holidays can be booked online with holidaymakers being confident they can get their money back if something goes wrong, according to Ms James.

Alex Neill, of Which? said: "Holidaymakers should be able to book their trips without worrying about whether they will be protected if their travel agent, airline, or hotel goes bust.

"The Government must make sure gaps in protection are addressed so that consumers have peace of mind however they book their package holiday."

The European Package Travel Directive comes into force in July 2018.

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