When Is A Package Tour Not A Package Tour?

We often hear of problems associated with package tour holidays and customers’ attempts to gain compensation. Therefore, it is important to know what is and what is not a package tour for the purposes of working out who is responsible if things go wrong.

Fortunately, the European Court has given a judgment which clarifies matters. This case involved a family seeking compensation after a Club Med holiday was ruined by a wasp infestation.

The Court decided that a package tour is one that includes ‘tourist services’, sold at an inclusive price where two or mote out of transport, accommodation or ‘other services’ are included and where these are arranged at the time of the original sale. This would exclude, therefore, a holiday for which the hotel and flights are booked separately.

The Government has published guidance for package tour operators outlining the definition of a package tour. In this context, a package means the pre-arranged combination of at least 2 of the following components, when sold or offered for sale at an inclusive price and when the service covers a period of more than 24 hours or includes overnight accommodation;

1. Transport
2. Accommodation
3. Other tourist services not ancillary to transport or accommodation and accounting for a significant proportion of the package and
a. The submission of separate accounts for different components shall not cause the arrangements to be other than a package
b. The fact that the combination is arranged at the request of the consumer and in accordance with his specific instructions whether modified or not shall not of itself cause it to be treated as other than pre-arranged.

Whether a holiday is a package or not is important from the point of view of protection in the case of the insolvency of the holiday provider or carrier. Where a package holiday is sold an ABTA registered travel agent will carry a bond which will pay for the repatriation of the holiday maker in the event of the insolvency of the tour company. However, where the elements comprising the holiday are sold separately and not as a package, no ABTA bond is required.

If your holiday was ruined, then you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact us today on 01536 276300.