Monday, 14 March 2016

"Holiday costs could soar after Brexit, travel agents warn"

Emailed in by MBK from The Times:

The research details how the EU has benefited UK holidaymakers, including: financial protection for package holidays, compensation for flight delays, free healthcare through the European health insurance card, caps on mobile phone charges and the right to bring home unlimited goods...

Overall, it suggests that a period of uncertainty would almost inevitably follow a vote for Brexit. BTA also claims that a “leave” vote will probably affect sterling, pushing up prices for Britons travelling to the continent.

1. There's nothing to such that financial protection for package holidays (ABTA or ATOL) is restricted to holidays within the EU. In fact, ATOL appears to have been imposed by the UK government.

2. Compensation for flight delays, not sure about this. Firstly, the UK could easily impose the same rules on airlines flying to/from the UK, and secondly, what does relevance does EU membership have on claims against European airlines? Can non-EU citizens not claim under if their flight is delayed?

3. The EHIC card system operates within all EEA countries, not just the EU.

4. The caps on mobile phone charges were one of the few Good Things which the EU pushed through, but AFAIAA, they apply in Switzerland as well. I was there a couple of years ago and am pretty sure I got the same text message as when you go to any other European country.

5. The right to bring unlimited goods? Other EU countries are perfectly happy for us to buy their stuff, it is the UK government which would impose a limited post-Brexit. That would be self-inflicted.

6. Period of uncertainty, fair enough, difficult to quantify one way or another.

7. Sterling might rise or it might fall. Nobody likes paying more for their holidays when sterling falls, but it would be good for exporters and our own tourism industry. So that's a break even.


Steven_L said...

The Package Travel Regulations 1992 are transposed from and EU directive, about to be replaced by a 2015 Package Travel Directive.

One aim is to close down the loopholes toward providing statutory 'security in the event of insolvency' that traders have found / created over the years.

ATOL bonding does not apply to all flights (whereas the Montreal Convention compensation regime does). And as we know, it is generally cheaper to buy non-package holidays, choosing flights and hotel separately.

Once the 2015 directive comes in, more traders will be caught by security in the event of insolvency / repatriation regimes and the cost of many holidays may well increase.

PS. I'm writing this sat on my terrace in Gran Canaria - on package holiday :)