In these past few weeks, many people have had their holidays cancelled due to the current pandemic outbreak which has led governments around the world to ban travel and close borders.
When it comes to package holidays – which by definition includes the purchase of at least two different types of travel services for the purpose of the same trip or holiday from a travel agency or through linked travel arrangements – the purchase is legally covered by the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations.
These regulations give consumers the right to either opt for a postponement of their package holiday to a later date or to the termination of the contract of sale and therefore a refund. In this unprecedented situation, with across-the-board cancellations of all travel arrangements, the financial strain on tour operators is enormous.
While would-be travellers’ immediate reaction could be to cancel their travel plans, they are encouraged to opt for a postponement of their holiday. Some operators are providing extra benefits, which could also make the option of postponement more attractive to their clients.
We also encourage clients to discuss alternative travel arrangements with their tour operators such that a solution acceptable to both parties may be found. This choice would help the local travel sector to survive this worldwide crisis and hence still be there to offer clients their products and services once the situation returns to normal.
The package-travel industry has over the years provided a much sought-after quality service which is recognised every year by the same consumers during the annual Premju Servizz bi Tbissima competition organised by the MCCAA.
This award encourages good relationships between consumers and traders and encourages the latter to invest in good customer care and after-sales service. Travel is one of the main five categories of this competition, and over the past years, consumers have voted for local travel agents to thank them for their excellent service.
Those clients, who for various reasons cannot opt for a postponement of their holiday, can request tour operators to terminate the sales agreement and issue them with a refund.
As per Legal Notice 80 of 2020, the time-window for tour operators to provide money refunds has been extended to six months from the date the package-travel contract is cancelled. This extension applies to all package-travel contracts cancelled between March 1 and May 31, 2020.
It is important that consumers are well aware of this six-month timeframe and that they do not insist with tour operators to be provided with a refund before this period elapses.
Consumers may seek further information and assistance about their rights by contacting the MCCAA on [email protected] or by calling on 8007 4400.