New measures to protect 10 million extra holidays a year

The Government has today (Sunday 1 July) introduced new measures that will protect an extra 10 million UK package holidays a year and help save British holidaymakers tens of millions of pounds a year with strengthened rights for consumers and new protections.

Online bookings have transformed the way many people buy holidays, with 83% of Brits booking a holiday online in 2017 compared to 76% in 2016. According to ABTA, the Travel Association, changes to how we book travel - such as using online booking sites - have created a gap in consumer protections, with 50% of holidays not currently financially protected if a company fails.

To address these gaps, close loopholes and protect more types of holidays, the Package Travel Directive enacted today includes new measures that will:

  • ensure people who book holidays online through travel sites enjoy the same rights as those who book with a traditional travel agent
  • broaden the definition of package holidays to capture modern booking models such as online and via mobile
  • require that travel providers and operators provide better information to travellers, making it clear what their rights to refund are
  • make online sites which enable consumers to put travel packages together responsible for the entire holiday, even if services are performed by third parties

Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said:

"Britain is a nation of travellers and we each put aside around £23.10 per week to go towards package holidays. Given that commitment, when we are booking holidays it is reasonable for all of us to expect that if something goes wrong we are protected financially.

The measures that come into effect today will ensure holidaymakers are properly compensated if things do go wrong, removing the risks for consumers and building on our long, proud history of high standards when it comes to travel protections."

Since announcing the new protections earlier this year, the Government has worked with travel industry leaders to develop guidance for businesses to help them comply with the new Regulations which was published today. Alongside this, ABTA has also published detailed guidance for both consumers and businesses on the updated Regulations.

Source: Department for Transport / Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Business Companion guidance on the subject can be found in 'Package travel & holidays', which also contains a link to the Government guidance.