As Covid-19 has brought travel and tourism to a standstill, European travel agents and tour operators are calling for the European Commission to continue giving “a strong signal to the European travel industry” and allow a more flexible application of the reimbursement rules for package travel.
“The cancellation of trips is currently causing an exorbitant outflow of liquidity, which could lead to the insolvency of thousands of travel companies (tour operators and travel agencies) in the very near future,” the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association (ECTAA) said on Tuesday.
According to ECTAA, a practical solution for both costumers and the travel companies is providing customers with a voucher for travel after the crisis instead of refunds.
The association is calling for the European Commission to grant the flexibility in the application of the Directive 2015/2302 on package travel and linked travel arrangements.
“This is in the interest of all of us: costumers, travel companies, suppliers and governments… Customers have nothing to gain, if travel companies are bankrupt and there is no money to provide refunds,” ECTAA President Pawel Niewiadomski said.
Moreover, ECTAA calls on the Commission to enable and invite Member State to use the possibilities provided by Article 107(3)b) TFUE as a matter of urgency to financially support tour operators, travel agents as well as the entire travel value chain (transport, accommodation services and other services providers).
According to Article 107(3)b) TFUE, States can grant “aid to promote the execution of an important project of common European interest or to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State”.
ECTAA regroups the national associations of travel agents and tour operators of 29 European countries and represents some 80.000 enterprises.