Lib Dem MEP and European Transport Spokesperson Phil Bennion has welcomed proposals from the European Commission to modernise the EU’s rules on package holidays and bring them into line with the modern era. The new rules include stricter controls on price surcharges, reduced red tape for travel agents and improved cancellation rights for customers who book package holidays online.
“Almost half of Brits went on a package holiday in 2012, and in this tough econonimc climate people are increasingly looking to save money by booking customised package deals online. These new rules will strengthen the rights of customers to claim compensation, cancel their bookings and access all relevant information, even when buying online packages with several different companies across Europe.
“There will also be measures to prevent holidaymakers having to fork out hundreds of pounds in hidden charges, and tour operators will be required to pass on any unforeseen savings to customers instead of just saddling them with extra costs.”
“However, the proposed changes will also benefit the tourism industry. Reductions in red tape, including getting rid of outdated requirements to reprint brochures, will save tour operators and travel agents an estimated £336 million a year.
“Lib Dems are passionate about reforming the EU to bring into line with the modern era, and these new rules are a great example of how we can make Europe deliver for ordinary citizens. We will now be examining the proposals in the European Parliament to see how best to boost consumer rights, reduce red tape for businesses and put money back into people’s pockets.”
Notes to editors
More details about the European Commission proposal on package holidays can be found here.
Figures released by the Association of British Travel Agents show that in 2012, nearly half (48%) of people booked an overseas package holiday, compared to 42% in 2011 and 37% in 2010.