Online holidays to get package deal protection

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Holidays booked online will soon have better legal protection if something goes wrong, as the gap is closed between online trips and package deals.

New measures coming into force in July will put more types of holidays under the protection of consumer rules.

According to the travel industry body Abta, half of holidays are not financially protected if a company fails.

The new rules will “close this gap”, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Consumer minister Andrew Griffiths said: “When we book a package holiday we expect it all to go according to plan, but if a company goes bust it can ruin more than just the holiday, leaving people out of pocket or even stranded.

“These new rules mean that internet explorers can book their holidays online, secure in the knowledge they will be compensated in the same way as someone who booked their holidays through a travel agent if something does go wrong.”



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At the moment, package holidays, where transport and accommodation are booked together, carry legal protection, including the right to a refund if bad weather stops the trip going ahead.

More types of holiday bookings will be classed as packages under these rules, primarily affecting “flight-plus” deals.

These are holidays where flights and accommodation are booked within 24 hours of each other, but not as a package. The new rules will mean these don’t exist, but are seen as a package deal.

Around 86% of Britons booked their holiday online last year, and at a cost of £22.10 per week, a third of recreational spending goes on holidays.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “Package holidays offer the best form of protection. Not only are you entitled to a refund or to be brought home should your travel company go out of business, but you also benefit from additional legal protection.”



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