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.
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