Consumers with cancelled travel plans must be able to choose a refund, European Commission says

The coronavirus crisis has had a huge impact on the tourism sector in Europe, and across the world. The question the European Commission is dealing with now is whether to support the tourism industry, or the rights of consumers.

It has come strongly down on the side of consumers, ruling that people who have booked a holiday before the crisis started should be allowed to get a full refund, and not just a voucher, RTL Nieuws reports. This goes against what many European countries want to happen.

Tourism sector will struggle without support

For obvious reasons, giving customers a voucher for a future trip is much better for tourism industries financially. However, legally, customers must be given a choice between a voucher and a full refund. Many EU countries want to curtail travellers’ rights in this time, in order to support the tourism sectors, but the European Commission has come out firmly against this idea.

Dutch plea to relax consumer regulations denied

At the end of April, the Netherlands, along with eleven other European countries, asked the European Commission for permission to relax the usual consumer protection regulations with regard to airline travel: in short, airlines would be able to offer customers a voucher only, instead of a refund. But customers must be offered a choice according to European rules.

Governments should save their own tourism sectors

The Commission has said that governments themselves should save the tourism sector, and that such a burden should not be put on consumers themselves: many of whom are, after all, dealing with the impact of the coronavirus crisis on their personal lives, as well.

Should customers lose their right to choose between a refund and a voucher to save the tourism sector? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image: Magdalena Smolnicka/Pixabay

Ailish Lalor
Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.


  1. I am dealing with this same problem for our trip to the Netherlands July 12 2020….. I have not cancelled yet waiting till near the date with KLM and Air bnb….. as of now my travel agent tells me KLM is only offering vouchers.. when we purchased the tickets we were told we could refund now they tell people no just a voucher. They have changed the rules very unfair… still have a small hope our trip will still happen in a way just to now get it over with. First trip back in 42 years…. not impressed

  2. What about accommodation reservation? I have ongoing back and forth with about my reservation in March that I had to cancel because my flight got canceled and is not willing to refund me money back which I found unacceptable…


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