People who have book package holidays through Irish travel agents and tour operators can be sure of getting a refund in one form or another thanks to a government backed credit note.
Tourism Minister Shane Ross confirmed on Friday that the government will be providing a state guarantee for a special form of refund credit note for holidays cancelled as a result of the current crisis.
People who have had to cancel bookings because of Covid-19 travel restrictions are entitled to a cash refund under the EU Travel Package Directive.
However, Minister Ross said that many travel agents and tour operators are having “severe cash flow problems” due to the crisis.
“It is not clear that all of them will be able to meet all of their current cash refund obligations and at the same time be able to stay in business.”
“The government has therefore agreed to back a new refund credit note that travel agents and tour operators can offer their customers.”
The refund credit note will work as follows:
1. It can be to the value of all of the refund due or part of the refund alongside part cash.
2. It will be issued with a future redeemable date, and on that date it can be exchanged for its cash value, or can be used to book a replacement holiday.
3. It will be State-guaranteed in the event that the travel agent or tour operator becomes insolvent.
“These are very difficult days for our tourism industry and for the many travel agencies and tour operators who have seen their businesses face near collapse in recent months.”
“However, it is also financially challenging for people who booked holidays and are entitled to a refund of their investment,” Shane Ross said.
“The Refund Credit Note aims to strike a balance between preventing sector-wide bankruptcy, with associated immediate job losses, and consumer rights.”