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The travel industry has changed significantly over the years. Previously you went to the travel agency and got a brochure, now you book your trip easily and quickly online.  The intervention of a travel agency is no longer the standard, people compile a trip themselves or make use of other third parties. This has led to a gray zone and lack of clarity regarding the rights and duties of the traveler and "trader".

This Directive has been implemented in the Dutch legislation under the title “Wet op de Pakketreis Overeenkomst en Gekoppeld Reisarrangement”. The law will come in force on 1 July 2018 and will replace the current Title 7A of Book 7 of the Dutch Civil Code, “de Reisovereenkomst”.

To put an end to this lack of clarity, the Directive (EU) 2015/2302 on package travel and linked travel arrangements was created. This ensures a maximum harmonization within Europe and prevents travelers or traders elsewhere having fewer or more rights. Booking outside the national borders will also be more attractive for travelers this way.

A traveler is not only understood as a consumer, but also the business traveler falls under the scope.
The term trader includes all persons acting in relation to journeys that are covered by the Directive, regardless of whether he acts as organizer, retailer, trader facilitating a linked travel arrangement or travel service provider.

In this new law, a distinction is made between the classic package tour and a linked travel arrangement:

  • The classic package travel is a ready-to-use combination of at least two different types of travel services offered by a trader as a whole. A single agreement is concluded for all services by one trader.

 

  • The linked travel arrangement however offers the traveler a tailor made holiday where multiple agreements are made and bundled. This type of arrangement does not include one organizer. For example, the traveler books an airplane ticket on a website and afterwards he clicks through to another website and books a hotel room. This second agreement must be concluded within 24 hours after the first booking otherwise we cannot speak of a linked travel arrangement.

First of all, there is a difference in the data transfer and exchange thereof, such as the name, payment details and the e-mail address of the traveler. In a package tour, it is the trader who transfers the details of a traveler to another trader. With a linked travel arrangement no data exchange between the traders takes place at all.

Expansion of the current Title 7A “de Reisovereenkomst”

The current legislation in Title 7A of Book 7 of the Dutch Civil Code only creates rights and obligations for the travel organizer of the classic package tour. From July the linked travel arrangement also falls under Title 7A. This implies an expansion of responsibilities and possible liability of a trader.

In case of a linked travel arrangement, the trader is obliged to inform the traveler that he or she does not have the same rights under a package travel booking and that each travel service provider is solely responsible for the execution of the travel service they offer. The trader can be held responsible for violating this disclosure obligation.

Each travel service provider is therefore solely responsible for the proper performance of the travel services offered by him. In the event of insolvency, the traveler is only protected against insolvency of the trader who facilitates the linked travel arrangement. For example, if this trader does not vouch for the flight, then there is no right to repatriation with regard to this party.

For both types of travel it is new in the directive that the trader can be held liable for booking errors made during the booking process. Unless the booking errors are attributable to the traveler or are caused by unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances.

If you have questions about this new legislation and the consequences of this legislation for your activities in the travel industry, please contact one of our lawyers.