Travelers better protected against bankruptcies of tour operators
Starting 1 July 2018, travelers will be protected against bankruptcies of their tour operators in more cases. Until that date, that type of protection had only existed for consumers who had bought package holidays (sometimes referred to as ‘package travel’). Starting 1 July, that protection will also apply to trips and holidays that travelers put together themselves, and, in some cases, it also applies to business travelers. These new regulations are introduced in response to the fact that more and more travelers choose their holidays themselves by combining elements from different tour operators and combining these into a single trip. The new regulations apply to holidays that were booked on or after 1 July 2018. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) enforces these European regulations.
What will change for travelers after 1 July?
The most important change for travelers is that, after 1 July, they will be protected against bankruptcies of traders in more cases. This applies to bookings where the traveler combines at least 2 travel services (e.g. transportation, accommodation, car rental, excursions) for the same holiday. The protection previously only applied to package holidays that the trader put together. Now it will also apply to holidays that travelers put together themselves. Depending on the way travelers book their holidays, they are either "package holidays" (in Dutch) or a "linked travel arrangements" (in Dutch). On Consuwijzer, ACM's consumer information portal, travelers can find out in what situations a holiday is considered a package holiday or a linked travel arrangement. The guarantee applies in both cases. It ensures that travelers will have their travel expenses refunded in case of bankruptcy of the tour operator. If they have already started their holiday, they will be repatriated.
What will change for tour operators after 1 July?
The new regulations mean that, starting 1 July, tour operators will have to provide guarantees in more situations. They must provide these not just to consumers, but, in some cases, to business travelers as well. The guarantee will now also apply to holidays that were put together by travelers themselves. Tour operators will also have to actively inform these travelers on the guarantee they have provided. Tour operators are able to decide for themselves how to organize their guarantee. For example, they can do so collectively through a travel guarantee fund.
ACM enforces compliance with these rules
Information regarding the new rules for tour operators can be found on www.acm.nl
They can also find a useful tool (in Dutch) that they can use to determine whether the holiday they provide will fall under the new regulations.
ACM enforces compliance with these regulations. ACM is able to impose a fine on companies that, after 1 July 2018, do not comply with the regulations, up to a maximum of EUR 900,000 per violation. This ensures that companies compete fairly and that consumers are protected and have enough options.
Consumers can find more information on consuwijzer.nl (in Dutch). Tip-offs about companies that are violating regulations can be submitted through consuwijzer.nl (in Dutch) or on acm.nl.