The new tourism regulation came into force on January 1st which prohibits travel agencies from advertising travel arrangements at bargain prices and then charging various additional costs; from subsequent payment of airport tax to transfers, travel, luggage…which make the final price of the trip twice as high.
In practice, this means that it will no longer be possible for travel agencies to make a promotional offer stating “Summer holidays starting from 150 euro…” and, in the end, to charge the unsuspecting customer twice as much.
The new regulation should also prevent abuse by the travel agency industry, which means that travellers will be confident that they will receive the services they have paid for.
Although many travellers have protested against the expected price increases, tour operators say that this will not be an actual increase, as the single cost of travel will now include all those taxes and costs that have been hidden so far and are now part of the price.
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Therefore, it will no longer be possible to sell, for example, an air ticket for EUR 20 if the price of that ticket is actually double that amount because of airport tax. In addition, travelling to an island will no longer be subject to a surcharge for taking a ferry to get to the island because it was not previously included in the price. This is why travel will seem to be more expensive, but in fact, tourists will pay the full amount immediately, without any hidden surprises.
Also, it will be easier for the customer to calculate all travel expense, as they will know from the beginning what exactly are they paying and how much.
The only thing that the price will not include is the tourist tax in the countries to which the holidaymakers are travelling to because normally this tax is charged by the owner of the accommodation you are staying in. However, agencies are required to inform travellers about the amount of tourist tax.
The regulation also classifies agencies into four categories based on their workload, sales and number of customers, so the lowest level agencies, with up to 1,000 customers, will now have which have over 10,000 customers, will have to pay in 10,000 euro.
The amount of the insurance, i.e. the guarantee for the trip, will depend on the category to which the agencies belong, therefore those at the lowest level (A-20) will have to have 200,000 euro in their bank account for insurance purposes, while those belonging to the highest category (A-40) will have to pay 400,000 euro.
Travel agencies have until January 31st to harmonize their operations with the new regulation.
This post is also available in: Italiano