Massive Travel Refunds due to 2020 COVID Restrictions ?

by: Juergen T Steinmetz | copyright: eTurboNews – Travel & Tourism News

Germany is taking the lead, opening doors for travel agencies and tour operators to become liable for restricted holiday experience refunds due to COVID.

Will this be an avalanche for bankrupcies for small tour operators and small travel agencies ?

The European Court of Justice Thursday held travelers whose travel package had been adversely affected by quarantine measures associated with COVID-19 may be entitled to a reduction in the tour package price they paid for their holidays.

Two German travelers filed a lawsuit against the tour operator they booked a vacation package with.

The German tourists who flew to Grand Canaria were not allowed to go to the beach or use the pool due to restrictions put in place by the Spanish government to combat COVID in May 2020.

They booked their package tour before such restrictions wre put in place.

The tour operator could not fulfill the obligations entailed in the package due to the quarantine measures.

The defendants brought a civil suit against their travel agent in a local Munich court, asking for a 70 percent reduction in the travel price. The Munich court dismissed the case, finding that health protection measures do not constitute a travel defect.

The Munich Court referred the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg.

The court observed that the travel organizers were strictly liable, and this liability could be waived only when the travelers themselves were responsible for the inability to fulfill package obligations.

The judgment defined “lack of conformity” as a “failure to perform or improper performance of the travel services included in the package.”

Further, the court said:

The traveller is entitled to a price reduction for lack of conformity in the performance of the package contract, in circumstances where the lack of conformity is due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of an infectious disease that is prevalent at the travel destination, where such restrictions are also imposed in the traveller’s place of residence and worldwide.

The court left it to the respective national court to decide the appropriate price reduction, considering all pertinent circumstances.

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