16/02/2017 – The European directive has to be transposed into national law by April. The TUI Group and the German Travel Association (Deutsche ReiseVerband, DRV) invited the Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Gerd Billen, who is responsible for the process, and the two Bundestag MPs Dr Johannes Fechner (SPD) and Matthias Lietz (CDU/CSU) to the policyLOUNGE – and they arrived bearing good news.
For months now German travel agents have been concerned that the amendments to the EU Package Travel Directive might put a stop to their sales of individual travel services such as flights or hotel accommodation. This is because the amended directive stipulated that they would have to bill these services individually. Now this is no longer an issue. Secretary of State Gerd Billen informed everyone at the beginning of the meeting that he'd got the green light from the European Commission just a few hours beforehand to introduce a workable solution. MPs Fechner and Lietz emphasised just how important they believe this SME-friendly solution is.
The TUI Group views the implementation of the EU Package Travel Directive as a positive process involving the EU, the German government, the travel industry and the consumer protection agencies working together to achieve a mutually acceptable outcome. Although TUI believes that the directive is still associated with some challenges - particularly the extension of the period allowed for appeals against complaints from 4 weeks to 24 months - the overall result is an example of good policy making. Gerd Billen: "Package holidays are still a fantastic product with the directive. And consumers who prefer to book travel services individually will be more effectively protected in future."