"Voucher bank" to guarantee refunds for travelers' canceled packaged holidays: report
The Dutch government is launching a "voucher bank" to make sure that travelers who got a voucher from their travel agency after their package holiday was canceled in the coronavirus pandemic, will eventually get their money back, even if the tour operator can't pay the refund, De Telegraaf reported after getting access to the structure of this bank.
Since the coronavirus crisis broke out, at least 1 million Netherlands residents have received a voucher as compensation for a canceled trip. All in all, those vouchers are worth nearly a billion euros, according to the newspaper.
The government is making 400 million euros in state loans available to the voucher bank. Travel companies can use that money to refund their customers.
The state loans are enough to refund vouchers until 31 March 2021 at most, Erik Jan Reuver of the guarantee fund for travel expenses SGR said to the Telegraaf. According to Reuver, the fact that the loans don't even cover half of the voucher value is not a problem. "Because an increasing number of voucher holders want to book a new trip in the summer of 2021 or have already done so," he said.
But for this to work, affiliated travel agencies and organizations need to stop issuing new vouchers as soon as possible. "From now on, immediately rebook or refund if a trip cannot take place.