Author Lauren Howells

The government has launched proposals to “better protect” an extra 10 million UK package holidays booked online.

Part of the European Package Travel Directive, which comes into force in July 2018, the proposals are designed to fill the “gap in protection” that has resulted from the changing way that we book our holidays.

Changes need to be implemented irrespective of exit from EU

In the consultation paper, the government speaks of the need to implement these changes “irrespective of our exit from the European Union”.

The government says that the new regulations are designed to extend protection beyond traditional package holidays, in order to give “clear protection” to UK travellers who opt to book different forms of combined travel.

Proposals include need for better information for holiday makers

The way be book package holidays has changed

The proposals involve an extension to current regulations to cover those who opt to book their package holidays online. The proposals also speak of the need for better information to be given to holiday makers at the time that they book their holiday so that it is clear what rights they have to a refund.

Additionally, the government also talked about the need to ensure that the business that puts the holiday package together, is responsible for the entire holiday, even if various parts are actually undertaken by a third party.

The way we book holidays has changed and regulations need to be updated to reflect this

Consumer Minister Margot James said: “While consumer laws protect millions of holidaymakers from the fallout if a travel company goes into administration, the way we book holidays has changed significantly in recent years and it is important that regulations are updated to reflect this. 

“On average UK households put aside £100 every month for their holidays. The proposals outlined in this consultation will ensure that an extra 22% of holidays can be booked online with holidaymakers safe in the knowledge that they will get their hard-earned money back if something does go wrong.” 

Clarity regarding draft wording for new UK Package Holidays Travel Regulations is essential 

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has said previously that changes to the way that travel is being booked has created a gap in consumer rights.

In response to the government’s consultation, ABTA has said: “While we welcome this consultation, we need to better understand how the UK Government proposes translating these principles into UK law and have yet to see the draft wording for the new UK Package Travel Regulations.  

“Such clarity is essential for the public to fully understand what will or will not be protected. Travel businesses also need to be given enough time to respond to the draft regulations and make any necessary changes to their business. The EU requires that the new Regulations come into effect in July 2018 so we need the Government to move swiftly in sharing the detail behind these broader proposals.”

The consultation will close on 25 September 2017.