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Holidaymakers to be better protected under government proposals

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
The government is proposing to close a gap in consumer rights protection when it comes to holidaymakers booking package deals online.

There has been a big change in how Brits book their holidays in recent years, with more of us turning to the internet to build personalised packages.

According to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), this booking method has created a gap in consumer rights as around 50% of holiday plans aren’t financially protected if the travel company were to go bust.

As a result, the government has launched proposals to better protect 10 million UK package holidays booked online, bringing the same rights as enjoyed by people who book with traditional travel agents.

The consultation on the Package Travel Regulations includes the following proposals:

  • Extend the current protections to cover millions of UK holidaymakers who buy package holidays online
  • Require better information to be provided to travellers at the point of booking, making it clear what their rights to a refund are
  • Ensure the business that puts the package together is responsible for the entire holiday – even if some elements will be fulfilled by third parties.

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 they will get their hard-earned money back if something does go wrong.”

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: “Holidaymakers should be able to book their trips without worrying about whether they will be protected if their travel agent, airline, or hotel goes bust.

“The government must make sure gaps in protection are addressed so that consumers have peace of mind however they book their package holiday.”

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