TRAVEL NEWS

The Herald Magazine - - Etc / Travel - SARAH MAR­SHALL

GREATER PROTECTION FOR HOL­I­DAY­MAK­ERS

No­body dreams any­thing will go wrong on a hol­i­day. In the past, pack­age hol­i­day trav­ellers have en­joyed a de­gree of protection from op­er­a­tors, who should be able to of­fer prac­ti­cal and fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance when things go awry.

In the dig­i­tal age, how­ever, our hol­i­day book­ing habits have changed con­sid­er­ably, giv­ing rise to op­er­a­tors who bun­dle hol­i­days to­gether with el­e­ments from third-party op­er­a­tors. Re­flect­ing this change, new reg­u­la­tions will be ef­fec­tive from July 1, mean­ing hol­i­day­mak­ers will have greater protection than ever be­fore.

What changes will come into ef­fect?

In the past, op­er­a­tors such as Ex­pe­dia, On the Beach, Travel Repub­lic and Love­hol­i­days.com weren’t cov­ered by the leg­is­la­tion. So hol­i­days with the op­tion to add a flight from an­other provider didn’t en­joy the same protection as pack­ages bought from one source. Now, though, any com­pa­nies pack­ag­ing up hol­i­days with flights from a third party will carry sim­i­lar li­a­bil­i­ties. A “pack­age” now has to in­volve the com­bi­na­tion of at least two travel ser­vices, in­clud­ing trans­port, ac­com­mo­da­tion, ve­hi­cle rental or an­other tourist ser­vice.

How will this ben­e­fit con­sumers?

If you fall ill or suf­fer an in­jury while away, it’s now pos­si­ble to ask your op­er­a­tor or book­ing agent for as­sis­tance.

Joanne Brine, part­ner at JMW Solic­i­tors and a travel lit­i­ga­tion spe­cial­ist, ex­plains: “Should any­thing hap­pen while you’re on hol­i­day, sub­se­quent claims will be more straight­for­ward to deal with. Plus, if an op­er­a­tor goes bust, you’re guar­an­teed to re­ceive a full re­fund or, if you’re al­ready abroad, to be brought home. Added le­gal protection also gives the right to help if weather con­di­tions or in­dus­trial ac­tion ham­per your plans.

“Hol­i­day­mak­ers can pur­sue the tour op­er­a­tor for com­pen­sa­tion when back home, through the courts if nec­es­sary, rather than try­ing to seek com­pen­sa­tion against a for­eign sup­plier through the for­eign courts.”

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