ECTAA: EU Package Travel Directive Must Be Revised to Better Protect Travellers Rights
The European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association (ECTAA) recently highlighted the urgent need to strengthen travellers rights in areas not addressed by the existing Package Travel Directive (PTD).
Among other things ECTAA said the PTD needs to set up protection against airlines’ insolvency.
“Effective enforcement of travellers rights requires better and coherent legislation,” the association said in an announcement, adding that the problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic revealed the shortcoming of the existing EU laws governing the sale of travel and transport services.
ECTAA reminded that during the pandemic, package organisers/retailers could not refund their customers due to their inability to recover the traveller’s monies from service providers, and more specifically from airlines.
“This situation had been detrimental for the whole value chain in particular for travellers using a travel agent or a tour operator,” the association said.
In 2021 the European Commission announced that it will review the existing Package Travel Directive and consider a possible revision of the text.
With this mind, ECTAA released its position on the upcoming review of the PTD and said it aims at tackling the two main lessons learnt from the pandemic.
Firstly, aligning the standards of protection of other passenger legislations (in particular Air Passenger rights regulation) to the ones of the PTD to resolve conflicting provisions.
Secondly the importance to legislate about Business-to-Business relations to allow the travel ecosystem to keep functioning is case of disruptive events.
ECTAA is therefore inviting the Commission to revise the PTD and set up the “long-awaited and much needed” protection against airlines’ insolvency and provide for the obligation for service providers holding package traveller’s prepayment to swiftly refund package organiser, so they can in turn refund their customers.
“In the end, the crisis has shown that travellers protection could be improved only if the whole ecosystem works in a harmonised way. This is why air passengers’ protection and Business-to-Business relationships have to be up to package travel standards,” said ECTAA President Pawel Niewiadomski.