The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that travelers whose package holidays have been affected by measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic may be entitled to a reduction in the price of their trip.
He writes about it DW, reports “European Truth”.
The judges’ ruling means that other tourists can seek refunds if their trips have been interrupted and services not provided due to pandemic measures.
Two German travelers purchased a two-week package holiday to Gran Canaria starting on 13 March 2020 from a German travel agent.
The couple asked for a 70% price reduction due to restrictions imposed on the island on March 15, 2020, as well as an early return.
Beaches were closed and Spanish authorities imposed a curfew, meaning tourists were only allowed to leave their hotel rooms to eat. The hotel has banned access to pools and sunbeds, and suspended its regular entertainment program.
A few days later, the two travelers were told that they should be ready to leave the island at any moment. Two more days later, they were forced to return to Germany.
The travel agent refused to give them a discount, saying that he could not be responsible for the “general risk to life”.
After the couple sued the organizer, the Munich Land Court asked the EU Court of Justice to interpret the EU package travel directive.
The Travel Guides Directive provides for strict liability on the part of the agent. Travelers are entitled to a corresponding reduction in price for any period during which the “discrepancy” occurred, unless the changes were due to the fault of the traveler.
“The reason for the non-compliance of tourist services and, in particular, whether it can be attributed to the account of the organizer, does not matter. He is released from this responsibility only when the non-performance or improper performance of tourist services is blamed on the tourist, which is not the case in this case,” the decision reads.
The court added that it did not matter that the German authorities had imposed similar restrictions where the couple lived. The Munich court must now make an assessment of the amount of compensation to which the spouses are entitled, based on the services that would normally have been provided.