The European Council will adopt a general approach on the revision of the Package Travel Directive during the Competitiveness Council held on Thursday, 4 December. The European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association (ECTAA) has been advocating for a balanced revision of the Package Travel Directive and deplores that the rushed adoption by the Council will be harmful to the entire travel industry, and especially to travel agents and tour operators.
ECTAA strongly regrets that the Presidency proposes a “a la carte” approach regarding the scope, allowing Member States to decide whether to include or not certain travel services, thus failing at achieving the two main goals of this revision: a functioning single market and a level playing field.
According to ECTAA, package travel organisers and traders will be over-burdened by rules which have not been properly assessed and do not apply to all traders offering travel services on the market today, such as traders offering click-through packages. Moreover, the situation is said to be worsened by imposing a 14 days right of withdrawal on organisers, whereas there is no equivalent right for travel services when they are not combined.
ECTAA said it would have favoured the adoption of a more balanced text, carefully assessed, ensuring the competitiveness of the entire European travel industry.
“There is a serious risk that the text will not, in any shape or form, contribute to the competitiveness of the travel industry, nor favour a level playing field within the Single Market and that the lack of harmonisation will increase market fragmentation,” said ECTAA President, Lars Thykier.
HOTREC: A rushed agreement on Package Travel will severely harm the hotel industry
HOTREC, the association representing the hotel, restaurant and café industry at European level, called on the Council to postpone any agreement until workable solutions are found to avoid the damaging effect the current compromise would have on hotel business across Europe.
According to HOTREC, the compromise proposed by the Italian Presidency would transform into packages many hotel services currently not considered as such by the existing Directive. This would result in strong additional costs that many hotels across Europe cannot sustain, while it is one of the few industry that keep creating thousands of jobs in spite of the economic context.
Moreover, it would indirectly and un-intentionally prohibit many promotional offers for early and late stand-alone hotel bookings, as the text ignores that many of these promotional offers are available on websites such as Expedia and similars, where they can be combined by consumers in packages.
HOTREC therefore calls on the Competitiveness Council to refrain from agreeing on a general approach on the Package Travel Directive, in order to have the time to find workable solutions for the European hospitality industry.