The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations (1992) introduced a right to pursue a claim against a tour provider in the UK, as an agent for accidents occurring during a package holiday.
The concept behind the Package Tour Regulations is to ensure that claimants do not incur difficulties in trying to pursue several different foreign suppliers, with which they do not have a direct contract. The obligation is now on the tour operator to make sure the foreign suppliers perform their respective parts of the contract to a reasonable standard.
Whilst the tour operator is directly liable to the consumer for any loss or damage sustained, the tour operator is still entitled to pursue a separate claim for reimbursement against the foreign provider.
The Regulations set out a number of requirements that the tour operator must comply with, both before and after the package tour. There are also obligations to assist the customer during the holiday if needed.
Regulations 4 and 5 of The Package Tours Regulations provide that any brochures or promotional material relating to the package tour must not be misleading and must contain clear and adequate information about the price and destination.
Regulations 7 and 8 set out the information that a tour operator is required to provide the customer with prior to the holiday commencing, including information about visas and health formalities as well as an itinerary for the trip.
Regulation 11 prevents tour operators from amending the price of a holiday once the contract has been entered into, unless the customer is given the option to withdraw from the tour without penalties.
Regulation 15 is probably the most important Regulation as it provides that the UK tour operator is liable for the proper performance of the contract, including liability for the actions of its agents abroad. The package tour operator therefore has a responsibility to ensure that the individual suppliers deliver their respective services properly, or they can face a direct claim by a customer for any damage caused.