The European Travel Agents and Tour Operators Association (ECTAA) and the Deutscher Reiseverband (DRV) invited the European travel community to an event on October 25 in Brussels. The tourism industry has to be ready for considerable difficulties in an uncertain time. Taking stock of the issues encountered and the remedies developed during the COVID epidemic is undoubtedly important right now.
With Frank Oostdam, President of ECTAA, and Dirk Inger, Managing Director of DRV, István Ujhelyi, Member of the European Parliament and Vice Chair of the Transport and Tourism Committee, and Dr. Ute Dallmayer, CEO of Lufthansa City Center Niederrhein, shared their perspectives on several topics, including the lack of refunds, the abrupt changes in travel advice, and the practical incoherence of some legal obligations. They also discussed with the audience the best methods to enhance the current Package Travel Directive, which is crucial for both travelers and travel suppliers.
According to Frank Oostdam, president of ECTAA, “broader, more accessible bankruptcy protection applied to service providers, enhanced B2B refunds, flexible scope, and crisis-specific remedies are all concerns that ought to be addressed swiftly.” However, without concurrent reform of passenger laws, a change of the PTD alone would be useless and detrimental to SMEs. He said, “When the Commission raises the problem of prepayment, it needs to look at all the sides of the question: for example, if the clients do not make any prepayment in full, suppliers cannot be paid in full by the tour operators before the service is supplied.
Dirk Inger, Managing Director of DRV, stated that fair competition is most important. Package vacations compete with one another and with one another’s prices. Consumer protection regulations shouldn’t be raised in the already extremely consumer-friendly package travel sector since customers also compare them to individual services, which are governed by many fewer rules.” Otherwise, there is a significant risk that weaker consumer protection may ultimately develop, he added. And that’s precisely the time when cost-conscious consumers are more likely to use unprotected individual services. “This can’t possibly be the outcome of a revision.