The news is a relief to the travel association Deutscher Reiseverband DRV, Bundesverband asr – Allianz selbstständiger Reiseunternehmen, and to 9,800 travel agencies in Germany. Brussels has been willing to make concessions on payment rules. For months the issue had created a stir in the German travel industry and divided opinion. Now travel agencies and their customers can breathe sigh of relief.
Gerd Billen, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, announced the news about the status of the EU Package Travel Directive at a meeting away from public eye. The commission had “conceded that single payment was permissible for a number of individual travel services.“ The travel association Deutsche ReiseVerband DRV and the tour operator TUI had invited the coalition parties, members of German parliament and ambassadors of leading destinations to a discussion in the TUI Politik Lounge in Berlin.
In short, the European Commission agreed that in future travel agencies may provide customers with a selection of individual travel services for which, as has been the case to date, only one payment will be required. It means that the legal bid to establish separate payments for individual services has been dismissed. Anyone not booking a package tour, instead individual services for flights, hotels, and car hire had been destined to make separate payments. "We urgently need a practical solution“, said DRV President Norbert Fiebig, who demanded action from the permanent secretary in Brussels. For months the DRV and asr have been fighting this change which puts Germany’s small and medium-sized travel agencies at risk. Billen, who is committed to the cause, can now claim success: “We have overcome another obstacle.“ This concession was a happy surprise, even for him. “For travel agencies it not only means that our laws are more practicable, it means working there is also more fun“, a relieved Billen added.
Norbert Fiebig praised the Justice Ministry’s successful negotiations: “It helps our travel agencies a lot. In practical terms, it means that generally speaking travel agencies can continue with business as usual.“ With ITB Berlin 2017 around the corner that could be a big help.
Hall 10.1/booth 117