New Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) come into force from Sunday (July 1) and will widely expand the definition of a package holiday, scrap Flight-Plus bookings and impose tour operator-style liabilities on retailers who sell packages other than as an agent.
Holidays until now defined as ‘Flight-Plus’ under the Atol Regulations will be designated “multiple-contract packages”, with the organiser having all the legal responsibilities of a traditional tour operator.
The term ‘organiser’ will apply to businesses selling flights and accommodation in combination, regardless of whether they act primarily as a tour operator, high street travel agent or online travel agent (OTA).
The new PTRs also create a new booking category, a Linked Travel Arrangement (LTA), for click-throughs from one booking site to another – for example, when a customer books a flight then clicks a link to an unconnected company to book a room. LTAs will offer only partial financial protection and if ‘linked’ companies share more than limited pieces of customer data, or fail to inform a consumer of what they are booking and the minimal protection on offer, the booking will default to being a package.
The new regulations also mean changes to the information businesses must provide to customers and to the terms and conditions of bookings, and there will be new Atol Certificates – for single-contract packages, multiple-contract packages and flight-only bookings.
New Atol Regulations also apply, although the CAA will not enforce these until October. However, all bookings from Sunday will be protected under the new PTRs, extending consumer financial and legal protections to millions more holidays than previously.
The changes stem from the EU Package Travel Directive of 2015. The last time the PTRs were overhauled was in 1992.
Abta is providing full guidance on the PTRs to members. Department of Business (BEIS) guidance is now expected in July.
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