The regulation allowing Greek airlines, ferries and tourism enterprises (hotels and travel agencies) to reimburse customers with 18-month vouchers for bookings that were canceled due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, instead of cash refunds, was published in the Government Gazette on Monday.
The measure ensures that holidaymakers will not lose their money and will have the chance to use their booking towards another holiday at a future date with the same business.
The legislation also addresses liquidity issues for Greek travel agencies, hotels, airlines and ferry companies in efforts to mitigate the effects of mass cancelled trips due to the Covid-19 crisis.
However, it is noted clearly that if the vouchers are not used within 18 months by customers, businesses will be required to refund the initial amount of the bookings in cash.
The 18-month voucher for airline tickets concerns flights that were booked in advance on Greek airlines and then cancelled between 25 February 2020 and 30 September 2020.
In a time period of 18 months, customers at any time may use their vouchers towards any destination of the network of the airline they had originally booked a trip with.
The 18-month voucher concerns domestic and international ferry tickets that were booked on Greek coastal ferries. It concerns cancellations for the period from 25 February 2020 until 31 October 2020.
Vouchers for ferry travel will be issued for customers who cannot travel due to restrictions; do not wish to travel due to uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic; or due to cancellation – under Greek or EU law – of scheduled routes.
In a time period of 18 months, customers may at any time use their vouchers for any destination of the network of the coastal shipping company that had originally made the booking with. All vouchers will be equal to the price of tickets that were originally booked for trips that were canceled.
Hotel, travel agency bookings
The 18-month voucher concerns individual bookings or reservations for package travel. It concerns cancellations that have been made by either the tourism enterprise or the customer of any nationality due to the Covid-19 pandemic, during the period from February 25 2020 until 30 September 2020.
Tourism enterprises are obliged to inform customers of their vouchers within 30 days from the date their booking was cancelled. If enterprises do not inform their customers in 30 days then the vouchers for canceled bookings are considered void and replaced with cash refunds.
The value of each voucher must be equal to the amount paid by the customer in advance when making the booking. The tourism enterprise is obliged to offer the customer the possibility to use the voucher for the provision of the same service or similar to the one that was originally paid for.
If the total value of the service chosen by the customer is less than the value of the voucher, the customer may choose to either receive a new voucher for the amount corresponding to the difference in value, with a duration to be agreed between the parties, or receive the difference in cash when the original voucher expires.
On the other hand, if the total value of the service chosen by the customer exceeds the value of the voucher, the difference is paid by the customer to the tourism enterprise.