Tourism, the Antitrust Authority: “Yes to vouchers, but the right to reimbursement for travelers must be guaranteed”

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Yes ai voucher in the tourism sector, provided that it is also foreseen a refund. According to the Antitrust Authority, the article of the decree Cura Italia which allows operators in the tourism sector to issue a voucher to “compensate” the cancellation of travel, flights and hotels due to the emergency from Covid-19 is in conflict with the European legislation which provides for the right to reimbursement in cash in cases of extraordinary circumstances. By collecting consumer complaints, the Antitrust Authority has sent a report to the government and parliament: without a correction, he warns, “will intervene to ensure the correct application of the provisions from a Community source, disapplying the national legislation that conflicts with them “.

The article 88-bis of Cura Italia, they explain, is in contrast with European legislation that in the case of cancellation due to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances, provides the consumer’s right to obtain a refund. The operator can legitimately to offer a coupon, but provided that travelers are not deprived of the right to a cash refund. To be considered a valid and reliable alternative to cash reimbursement, vouchers must have certain characteristics, including insurance coverage in the event of bankruptcy of the tour operator or carrier and the right to a cash refund if the voucher expires without being useful.

The Commission also noted that because of the serious losses in the tourism sector, should incentivize consumers to accept vouchers: cancellations far outweigh new bookings, increasing agencies’ difficulties. A widespread acceptance of vouchersin fact, it would help mitigate the sector’s liquidity problems. This indirectly guarantees the safeguarding of travelers’ interests: if agencies and tour operators become insolvent, many travelers and passengers may never receive a refund.

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