Firstly these new regulations mean that if you are deemed to be an “organiser”:
Documents and information – the Regulations require organisers to issue certain documents to travellers and to provide them with certain information. This may be done by the organiser or the retailer but it must be agreed who is responsible. The Regulations contain a number of Schedules detailing the information to be provided. The traveller must also be informed that the combination of travel services forms a Package and the rights that this gives them.
Performance of the package – the Member is liable to the traveller for the performance of the travel services included in the Package even if performed by third parties. Some of the duties that this imposes on the organiser are:
- Any lack of conformity must be remedied unless it is impossible to do so or if it entails disproportionate costs. Travellers are entitled to remedy the situation themselves (and be reimbursed for their expenses in doing so) if the organiser does not remedy the lack of conformity or where immediate remedy is required.
- Replacements for travel services that cannot be performed must be of equivalent of higher quality where possible and if they are not then a suitable price reduction must be offered.
- The organiser must offer the traveller an appropriate price reduction and compensation for any lack of conformity. The compensation can be limited by the terms of the contract but not in respect of intentional or negligent injury or damage and not to less than 3 times the total price of the package.
Security – the organiser must provide effective security to repatriate travellers and refund all payments in the event of insolvency of the organiser. The security may be in the form of Bonding, Insurance or money held in Trust.
The arrangements that are exempt from the Regulations are as follows:
Packages and LTAs that are organised occasionally and on a not for profit basis and for limited groups of travellers. All of these criteria need to apply so if you are making a profit or offering trips to the public or arranging more than a few trips a year, then you are likely subject to the Regulations.
Packages and LTAs purchased through a general agreement, it is suggested that this would exempt companies that make bookings through a framework agreement with business travel agencies.
Packages and LTAs lasting less than 24 hours unless overnight accommodation is included.
If you arrange 2 or more of the following then it is likely you will be deemed to be an organiser:
- Carriage of Passengers (flights, trains, coaches)
- Motor Vehicle Hire
- Any other tourist services (any other tourist service not intrinsically part of a travel service)
Does the UMAL cover meet the requirement to obtain security for the value of the package and cost of repatriation in the event of insolvency?
It is important to note that air package travel organisers must by law use the ATOL licensing scheme. For any non-flight Package or Linked Travel Arrangement, the organiser must obtain security to cover, in the event of the organiser’s insolvency, the reasonably foreseeable costs of—
(a) refunding all payments made by or on behalf of travellers for any travel service not performed as a consequence of the insolvency, taking into account the length of the period between down payments and final payments and the completion of the packages;
(b) if the carriage of passengers is included in the packages, and the performance of any package is affected by the insolvency, repatriating the traveller and, if necessary, financing the traveller’s accommodation prior to the repatriation.
UMAL has arranged an insolvency Protection Scheme available to all UMAL members that will provide necessary cover to travellers in the event of the Member becoming insolvent. The scheme applies only to non-flight packages and linked travel arrangements to which the Regulations apply and where the Member is the organiser.
For further information contact;
Leon Martin, Underwriter (Personal Accident, Travel and Motor)
T: 020 7847 8681 | [email protected]