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New legislation regarding the provision of services in the area of tourism industry in the Czech Republic – part one

New legislation regarding the provision of services in the area of tourism industry in the Czech Republic – part one

This article is devoted to the new legal regulation regarding the provision of travel and related services in the Czech Republic.

As of 1st July 2018 the Amendment of the Czech Act No. 159/1999 Coll., on certain business conditions and performance of certain activities in the area of tourism industry, and related laws1, became effective.

The purpose of the Amendment is the Czech transposition of the Directive (EU) 2015/2302 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on package travel and linked travel arrangements2.

One of the main reasons behind the new Directive was the need for modernisation of the relevant legal area of tourism industry. Over the recent years, the travel market had undergone considerable changes – in addition to the traditional distribution chains, the Internet has become an increasingly important medium through which travel services are offered or sold.

The main aim of the new legislation is not only to regulate the new ways how the travel services are offered, sold and arranged (implementation of so-called linked travel arrangements – see below), but also to reach and ensure high level of consumer protection (see part two).

NEW DEFINITIONS

“Travel service” is a new key term important for distinguishing whether in particular case a package or a linked travel arrangement is offered or sold. A travel service newly means:

  1. carriage of passengers,
  2. accommodation which is not intrinsically part of carriage of passengers, and is not for residential purposes,
  3. rental of cars and other motor vehicles, or
  4. any other travel service, e.g. sale of tickets for cultural or sports events, trip’s organisation, sale of ski passes or rental of sports equipment.

New definition of a term “package” is, compared to the previous one, much more elaborated. The package means a combination of at least two different types of travel services for the purpose of the same trip or holiday, if

  1. those services are combined and offered by one trader, or are combined at the request of or in accordance with the selection of the traveller prior to a conclusion of a single contract for all services, or
  2. irrespective of whether separate contracts are concluded with individual travel service providers, provided that those services are
    1. purchased from a single point of sale,
    2. offered, sold or charged at an inclusive or total price,
    3. advertised of sold under the term „package“ or under a similar term, or
    4. purchased from separate traders through linked online booking processes where the traveller’s name, payment details and e-mail address are transmitted from the trader with whom the first contract is concluded to another trader or traders and a contract with the latter trader or traders is concluded at the latest 24 hours after the confirmation of the booking of the first travel service.

Contrarily, a combination of travel services where not more than one type of travel service (carriage of passengers, accommodation, rental of cars) is combined with one or more travel services as referred to in point (d), is not a package if the latter service or services:

  1. do not account for a significant proportion of the value of the combination, i.e. do not reach at the latest 25% of the total price for the combination, are not advertised as and do not otherwise represent an essential feature of the combination (e.g. in case of ski holiday – the price for ski passes is usually lower than 25% of the total price, but it represents the essential feature of the combination), or
  2. are selected and purchased only after the performance of a travel service has started (e.g. rental of a bike after the commencement of accommodation).

Completely new term is ”linked travel arrangement” which means at least two different types of travel services purchased for the purpose of the same trip or holiday, but not constituting a package, resulting in the conclusion of separate contracts with the individual travel service providers, if a trader facilitates:

  1. on the occasion of a single visit or contact with his point of sale, the separate selection and separate payment of each travel service by travellers, or
  2. in a targeted manner, the procurement of at least one additional travel service from another trader where a contract with such other trader is concluded at the latest 24 hours after the confirmation of the booking of the first travel service.

New legislation, alike the existing one, does not apply to: (i) packages (and linked travel arrangements) covering a period of less than 24 hours, unless overnight accommodation is included, and (ii) packages (and linked travel arrangements) provided occasionally and on a not-for-profit basis. Contrary to the existing legal regulation, the new legislation explicitly does not apply to packages and linked travel arrangements purchased on the basis of a general agreement on arrangement of business travel (business trips), because in case of such a type of travel the same level of protection as with consumers is not required.

By Jiří Spousta & Magda Stárková

1The Amendment also changes the Czech Civil Code (the Act No. 89/2012 Coll.) in provisions regarding the travel contract (Sec. 2521 of CC) and the Czech Trade License Act (the Act No. 455/1991 Coll.) in the part relating to the trade license for operating a travel office.
2Directive (EU) 2015/2302 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on package travel and linked travel arrangements, amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directive 90/314/EEC.

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