The European Technology and Travel Services Association (Ettsa) hit out at the new Package Travel Directive (PTD) today, saying the final text failed to take account of “serious and legitimate concerns” raised by leading online players.
The EU Council of Ministers formally adopted the final version of the directive yesterday, making its passage through the European Parliament a formality.
But Ettsa warned the directive’s provisions risk “massive consumer confusion” and “a significant decrease in consumer choice and competition”.
The association said measures to impose consumer financial protection on click-through sales between websites “could force traders that have cross-marketing agreements to exchange personal data of consumers, potentially conflicting with competition and data-protection laws”.
Travolution’s sister title Travel Weekly reported this week that the directive would bring ‘click-through’ sales within the definition of a package where a traveller’s name, email and payment details are transferred between websites.
Where fewer details pass between sites, the combination of two or more services will be termed a ‘linked travel arrangement’ and require financial protection but not carry the liabilities of a package.
Christoph Klenner, secretary general of Ettsa said: “The process was so rushed, it does not take into account serious concerns raised by the online travel industry.”
He described the directive as “practically impossible to implement and to comply with”.
Ettsa suggested:” The European travel and tourism sector could face significant economic and job losses as a result of this legislation.”
Klenner insisted the industry has to be involved in implementing the directive and said: “We stand ready to work with member states to find practical solutions.”
He warned: “Failing to do so could result in many traders stopping offering certain travel products, leading to a significant decrease in consumer choice and competition.”
Ettsa’s members include Expedia, lastminute.com, eBookers, Orbitz, Opodo, Go Voyages and eDreams, as well as global distribution system (GDS) companies Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport.