An extra 10 million passengers who book package holidays could have better protection if new rules are approved.
The Government has today launched a consultation for the Package Travel Regulations, which will be based on the European Package Travel Directive, and must be in force by July 2018.
The proposals would see better information given to holidaymakers when they book, making it clear what their refund rights are, plus an extension to current protections to cover the millions of UK travellers who buy package holidays online.
The changes would also ensure that the business that puts the package together is responsible for the entire holiday, even if some elements are to be fulfilled by third parties.
The Association of British Travel Agents says changes to how we book travel – such as using online booking sites to build personalised holidays – has created a gap in consumer rights, with 50% of holidays not financially protected if a company goes bust.
The changes will provide clearer and stronger protections for holidaymakers, ensuring people who book holidays online enjoy the same rights as those who book with a traditional travel agent.
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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.
"On average UK households put aside £100 every month for their holidays. The proposals outlined in this consultation will ensure that an extra 22% of holidays can be booked online with holidaymakers safe in the knowledge that they will get their hard-earned money back if something does go wrong."
It follows the announcement in the Queen's Speech in June that ATOL protection would also be extended. See our ATOL protection set to be extended MSE News story for more info.
The Government is encouraging travel agents, booking sites, trade associations and consumer groups to respond to the consultation, which runs for six weeks.