Travel agencies call for emergency fund to compensate disease outbreak-cancellations
Ten travel agencies in the Netherlands are calling for the establishment of an emergency fund to compensate travelers who need to cancel or change their booking due to a virus outbreak at their holiday destination. Currently travelers who want to cancel a trip to a risk area are dependent on the leniency of their travel organization when it comes to getting any money back, RTL Nieuws reports.
The travel industry is hit hard by the outbreak of coronavirus Covid-19. The number of bookings is plummeting due to travel restrictions and fear of being infected with the virus.
People who had trips planned to Italy saw their travel planes change when te Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a negative travel advice for large parts of the country. United States president Donald Trump also announced an entry ban on all flights from Europe, except the United Kingdom. These are situations out of travelers' control, but travel organizations are not obliged to compensate them.
The ten travel agencies believe that customers should not be responsible for these costs. "It is undesirable that damage is borne by the consumer and it cannot be explained that people cannot rebook or cancel if there are risks. Holidays should be relaxing," Robbert ten Kate of Simi Reizen said to the broadcaster.
They therefore call for the establishment of an emergency fund from which travelers can be compensated in case of future infectious disease outbreaks. This protects both consumers and travel organizations. "The costs of canceling free of charge for departing customers are impossible to bear completely by the travel organizations," Coby van Dongen of De Jong Intra Vakanties said to the broadcaster.
The travel agencies don't agree on where the money for this emergency fund should come from.. Some think the government should contribute to it, others like the idea of a small extra charge with every booking.