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European Parliament has concluded its negotiation with the European Council on the revised PTD

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Operators remain liable for all services they package but some other burdens on them are unreasonably onerous, especially for small businesses. Absent is any meaningful promotion of cross-border trade in value-added tourism services, a vital opportunity for EU-based jobs.

The European Parliament has concluded its negotiation with the European Council on the revised Package Travel Directive (PTD). The Directive’s scope had been broadened to include online business and is hailed as a win for consumers. PTD has been in existence since the 1990s, offering consumer protection on travel products bought together as a ‘package’. The revised directive will apply to combinations of services bought online for an inclusive price.

Welcomed in the revision are process simplifications and the specific clarification that compliance with one member state’s financial protection regime should be sufficient.

Operators remain liable for all services they package but some other burdens on them are unreasonably onerous, especially for small businesses. Absent is any meaningful promotion of cross-border trade in value-added tourism services, a vital opportunity for EU-based jobs. There is still no pan-European system of financial protection, covering pre-payment and insolvency protection and there is no exemption for packages that exclude transport.

Tim Fairhurst, Head of Policy and Strategy at ETOA said: "A single market for tourism services is still a long way off. Jobs will come from innovation and growth, not excessive market control and a preference for national systems of consumer protection. ETOA supports a fair and enforceable regulatory framework for consumers and business alike, but legislative processes continue to lag far behind the fast pace of change of a global industry engaged in selling Europe in markets worldwide, online and otherwise."
 
Tom Jenkins, CEO of ETOA, said “There will be a lot of grumbling that the EU has extended regulation over a burgeoning sector. It is the a natural thing for any retailer to add value by adding services, but this now comes wrapped in regulatory obligations. Regulations always cost money, and these costs are always borne by the consumer.

The good news is that reform has taken place. It may be wrong, but at least it is reform. And reform is something we are going to have to get good at. The last PTD was outdated by a combination of new technology and customer preference. New PTD will be subject to the same forces. Any intervention in the online market draws a response which makes the intervention obsolete. This is a process of months, not years. So as soon as this reform (which has been six years in coming) is effected, then new reform will have to be initiated.”
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