The new European Package Travel Directive (PTD) will be “impossible” to comply with, the head of the European Technology and Travel Services Association (ETTSA) warned last week

ETTSA secretary-general Christoph Klenner described the directive as “an absolute monster”, claiming it was designed under pressure from tour operators to make life “as difficult as possible” for online travel agents (OTAs).

The PTD must be brought into UK law by January, with the regulations due to come into force from July 2018, although the Department for Business has yet to consult on its implementation.

Klenner told the Phocuswright Europe conference in Amsterdam: “The PTD was designed through extensive lobbying by the tour operating industry to try to make the life of online travel agents as difficult as possible.

“[It] tries to shoehorn a new business reality into a regulatory framework which is long outdated. You have to comply with rules that are almost impossible to comply with.

“If you make a booking on a flight.com site and are referred to an accommodation provider, those partners, who have a loose marketing relationship, have to exchange data and the airline has to take out insolvency protection. How is this going to be complied with?”

Lastminute.com group deputy chief executive Andrea Bertoli agreed, warning: “Each country will give its own twist to something which is impossible to put in place.

“They are trying to regulate innovation by looking at the past, in a new order where packages are dynamic, where users can package product on an OTA, on meta or on a search engine like Google.”