CONTROVERSIAL Ryanair and easyJet vouchers are getting European backing from countries like Germany and Spain in a bid to save tourism.
A major European Commission report will come out this Wednesday (May 13) to see what can be salvaged this year of the tourist industry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Commission is in effect the executive of the European Union and makes policy recommendations that the European Union member countries can approve or choose to reject.
A key plank of the report, pushed by EU states like Germany, is to go along with airlines and tour companies offering customers vouchers if their flights or holidays have been cancelled.
The current EU rule is that travellers are entitled to a full refund, but the European Commission is suggesting that each country should actually underwrite the value of the vouchers that are offered.
That would therefore reassure customers that taking vouchers would not see them out of pocket if a travel company went bust.
“To provide incentives for passengers and travellers to accept vouchers instead of reimbursement, vouchers should be protected against insolvency of the issuer and remain refundable by the end of their validity if not redeemed,” according to the Commission report.
“Insolvency protection needs to be assured at the national level and secured vouchers need to be accessible to all passengers and travellers.”
The argument is that carriers and operators will have access to more money at a crucial time in the travel industry, rather than having to shell out vast refunds that could see them go under.
It´s unclear whether the UK would be bound by any such arrangements, as though it observes the rules of EU until the end of the year under the Brexit withdrawal agreement, it left the block at the end of January.
The European Commission report, called “Europe Needs a Break” also recommends the gradually lifting of border closures across the EU and the need to kick-start an albeit restricted holiday sector, despite the fact that non-essential travel will not be allowed until at least mid-June.
German tour operators are already well advanced in getting some packages on sale to customers wanting to travel to the Balearic Islands at the end of June.