New Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) due to come into force next July will apply only to holidays booked on or after the start day.
The regulations will not apply to holiday departures booked in advance of the July 1 start date, the government confirmed in proposals for implementing the EU Package Travel Directive (PTD) published on Monday.
The proposals form part of a consultation document launched by the Department for Business (Beis).
The draft regulations themselves have yet to be published and are not expected until the autumn.
These will extend package-holiday liability to bookings currently sold with Flight-Plus financial protection in the UK.
They will also extend financial protection to some online bookings currently outside the Atol consumer financial-protection scheme.
However, travel businesses urgently need to see the draft regulations. They have only 10 months to comply as it is.
Abta responded to the launch of the consultation by noting: “We need to better understand how the government proposes translating these principles into UK law and have yet to see the draft wording for the regulations.
“Businesses need time to make any necessary changes. We need the government to move swiftly.”
The Beis consultation makes clear the government intends to cut and paste the PTD into UK law, stating: “In general, provisions will appear in UK regulations as set out in the Directive.”
It proposes the creation of a new “UK register listing organisers’ insolvency arrangements”. But it insists: “We intend to impose minimal additional burdens on business.”
The consultation confirms ministers “will continue to consider protection for flight-only tickets” as part of long-term reforms to the Atol scheme.
The government has already confirmed it will align the existing Atol scheme with the PTD through the Atol Bill announced in June.
The consultation also sets out the government’s intentions in the “few areas where the UK has flexibility”. On non-flight packages, it notes: “We propose to continue the current regime with broadened scope” and “to extend the same regime to cover non-flight Linked Travel Arrangements (LTAs).”
LTAs will cover so-called ‘click-through bookings’ between websites. These will have only partial financial protection.
Beis has suggested the regulations will cover “an extra 22% of holidays” booked in the UK for overseas leisure travel.
Travel businesses have until September 25 to respond to the proposals. It appears likely the draft regulations will be published after this date.
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