Package travel organisers and traders will be over-burdened by rules which have not been properly assessed and do not apply to all traders offering travel services on the market today, such as traders offering click-through packages.
The European Council will adopt a general approach on the revision of the Package Travel Directive during the Competitiveness Council held today. ECTAA, the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association, has been advocating for a balanced revision of the Package Travel Directive and deplores that the rushed adoption by the Council will be harmful to the entire travel industry, and especially to travel agents and tour operators.
ECTAA recognises the tremendous amount of work done under the Italian Presidency on the revision of the Package Travel Directive. However, ECTAA deplores the fact that the Council has decided to put the adoption of a general approach on the agenda of tomorrow’s Competitiveness Council meeting, without assessing the impact of numerous decisions taken during the last few weeks.
ECTAA strongly regrets that the Presidency proposes a “a la carte” approach regarding the scope, allowing Member States to decide whether to include or not certain travel services, thus failing at achieving the two main goals of this revision: a functioning single market and a level playing field.
Package travel organisers and traders will be over-burdened by rules which have not been properly assessed and do not apply to all traders offering travel services on the market today, such as traders offering click-through packages. Moreover, the situation will be worsened by imposing a 14 days right of withdrawal on organisers, whereas there is no equivalent right for travel services when they are not combined.
ECTAA would have favoured the adoption of a more balanced text, carefully assessed, ensuring the competitiveness of the entire European travel industry.
Said ECTAA President, Lars Thykier: “The efforts of the Italian Presidency to find solutions in this complex dossier is to be welcomed. It is very worrisome to see that all this work has been rushed for the sake of achieving a first reading, rather than achieving the objectives set out in the Commission proposal. There is a serious risk that the text will not, in any shape or form, contribute to the competitiveness of the travel industry, nor favour a level playing field within the Single Market and that the lack of harmonisation will increase market fragmentation”.
“A rushed agreement on Package Travel will severely harm the hotel industry”, says HOTREC to the Competitiveness Council
As the Competitiveness Council discuss today a Presidency compromise on the new Package Travel Directive, HOTREC, the European association representing the European hospitality industry, calls on the Council to postpone any agreement until workable solutions are found to avoid the damaging effect the current compromise would have on the hospitality industry.
While recognising the efforts made by the Italian Presidency, the European hospitality industry considers that the current compromise text to be discussed by the Competitiveness Council will harm hotel business across Europe, as it fails to address some of the long-standing issues the hotel industry has with the Commission proposal.
“This text suffers several drawbacks and is simply not workable as such. Given the negative impact the current text would have on hotel businesses, the Council should not rush into an agreement for the sole reason of completing the first reading before the end of the year. Both the industry and consumers deserve better” commented Christian de Barrin, CEO of HOTREC.
Indeed, the compromise proposed by the Italian Presidency would transform into packages many hotel services currently not considered as such by the existing Directive. This would result in strong additional costs that many hotels across Europe cannot sustain, while it is one of the few industry that keep creating thousands of jobs in spite of the economic context.
Moreover, it would indirectly and un-intentionally prohibit many promotional offers for early and late stand-alone hotel bookings, as the text ignores that many of these promotional offers are available on websites such as Expedia and similars, where they can be combined by consumers in packages.
HOTREC therefore calls on the Competitiveness Council to refrain from agreeing on a general approach on the Package Travel Directive, in order to have the time to find workable solutions for the European hospitality industry.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.