Published on : Friday, March 14, 2014
ABTA today responded to the latest step in the review of the European Package Travel Directive (PTD) as the European Parliament voted on amendments to the proposals. The text of the Directive will now pass for further review to the Council of the EU.
ABTA has been closely engaged in the parliamentary process in Europe – supporting the goal of modernising the Package Travel Directive in a fair and balanced way for both travel businesses and consumers.
Last month ABTA gave a cautious welcome to some key proposals from the Internal Markets and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) and today’s vote by MEPs endorses some of these key points, including:
Exclusion of general right of withdrawal (a ‘cooling-off’ period) from the scope of the Directive.
Support for ensuring that in the UK travel agents do not take on the liabilities of organisers.
Support for simplifying the exemption of some business travel sales from the Directive.
However, ABTA remains concerned that there are some areas within the current draft text of the Directive that need further revision. In particular, under the current wording, some holiday sales by way of linked websites, notably by airlines, may not fall within the scope of the Directive. ABTA believes the inclusion of this type of arrangement is critical to ensuring an effective and consistent extension of consumer protection that is fair for travel businesses.
As the draft text now comes under the scrutiny of the Council, a process which is expected to take at least until the autumn to complete, ABTA will continue its work with decision-makers in Brussels.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “We are reviewing all of the details of today’s vote, but it is clear that more work is still needed to ensure the revisions to the Package Travel Directive are fair and workable, particularly in the area of capturing linked sales from one website to another.
However, we are pleased that MEPs have today voted on some sensible provisions in a number of important areas.
For example, MEPs have recognised the impracticality of introducing cooling off periods and rejected these as a proposal and they have voted to allow flexibility for Member States to maintain national arrangements on liabilities – allowing agents to remain agents if they are selling someone else’s package.These are points on which ABTA has argued strongly.
“There is still a long way to go until there is a final text agreed for a revised Package Travel Directive and ABTA will continue to work to secure further amendments that support the goal of updating and improving the Directive in a way that benefits both consumers and travel businesses.”