Lib Dem MEP and European Transport Spokesperson Phil Bennion has welcomed proposals from the European Commission to reform the EU's rules on package holidays and bring them into line with the modern era.

passenger rightsThe new rules include stricter controls on ticket and accommodation price surcharges, reduced red tape for travel agents and improved cancellation rights for customers who book package holidays online.

Phil Bennion MEP said: "Almost half of Brits went on a package holiday in 2012, and in this tough economic climate people are increasingly looking to save money by booking customised package deals online.

"These new rules will strengthen the rights of holidaymakers and travellers to claim compensation, cancel their bookings and access all relevant information, even when buying online packages with several different companies in different countries across Europe.

"There will also be improved measures to prevent holidaymakers having to fork out hundreds of pounds in hidden charges, and tour operators will be required to pass on any unforeseen savings to customers instead of just saddling them with extra costs."

"The reforms will also benefit businesses in the tourism industry. Reductions in red tape and paperwork, including getting rid of outdated requirements to reprint brochures, will save tour operators and travel agents an estimated £336 million a year.

"The Lib Dems are passionate about reforming the EU to make it more efficient and bring it into line with the modern era.

"These new rules for holidaymakers are a great example of how we can make Europe deliver for ordinary citizens with binding rules to protect holidaymakers that Britain or any other EU country could not enforce acting alone.

"We will now be examining these proposals in the European Parliament in detail to see how best to boost consumer rights, reduce red tape for businesses and put money back into people's pockets. In principle, the reforms are on the right track and long overdue."



More details about the European Commission proposal on package holidays can be found here: 

Figures released by the Association of British Travel Agents show that in 2012, nearly half (48%) of people booked an overseas package holiday, compared to 42% in 2011 and 37% in 2010.