Withdrawal from tourist services. Rights and obligationsWith the growing risk for public health worldwide it became imminent for many people to cancel their travels plans to countries which are most affected by the Covid-19 virus outbreak such as China, Iran, Italy, France and Germany – all of which are popular tourist destinations.
Even though we advise our audience to not give in to the mass hysteria and disinformation, it is always recommended to take precaution for the sake of your own and your close ones’ safety. In this regard:

What are my rights in case of withdrawal from a contract for tourist services?

Package travel contracts are regulated by the Tourism Act (TA). The TA regulates the procedures and conditions under which travel packages and related tourist services are carried out.

Before the traveler is bound by any package travel contract, the organizer and, where the package is sold through a retailer, also the retailer shall provide the traveler with the following information:
(a) the main characteristics of the travel services: the travel destination(s), itinerary and periods of stay, with dates and, where accommodation is included, the number of nights included; the means of transport, the points, dates and time of departure and return, the duration and places of intermediate stops and transport connections; the accommodation; the meal plan; visits, excursion(s) or other services included in the total price agreed for the package;
(b) the trading name and geographical address of the organizer and, where applicable, of the retailer, as well as their telephone number and, where applicable, e-mail address;
(c) the total price of the package inclusive of taxes and, where applicable, of all additional fees, charges and other costs or, where those costs cannot reasonably be calculated in advance of the conclusion of the contract, an indication of the type of additional costs which the traveler may still have to bear;
(d) the arrangements for payment;
(e) the minimum number of persons required for the package to take place;
(f) general information on passport and visa requirements;
(g) information that the traveler may terminate the contract at any time before the start of the package in return for payment of an appropriate termination fee, or, where applicable, the standardized termination fees requested by the organizer;
(h) information on optional or compulsory insurance to cover the cost of termination of the contract by the traveler or the cost of assistance, including repatriation, in the event of accident, illness or death.

The traveler may terminate the package travel contract at any time before the start of the package. Where the traveler terminates the package travel contract under this paragraph, the traveler may be required to pay an appropriate and justifiable termination fee to the organizer. The package travel contract may specify reasonable standardized termination fees based on the time of the termination of the contract before the start of the package and the expected cost savings and income from alternative deployment of the travel services.

Nevertheless, pursuant to Art. 89 (5) of the TA, the traveler shall have the right to terminate the package travel contract before the start of the package without paying any termination fee in the event of unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances occurring at the place of destination or its immediate vicinity and significantly affecting the performance of the package, or which significantly affect the carriage of passengers to the destination. In the event of termination of the package travel contract under this paragraph, the traveler shall be entitled to a full refund of any payments made for the package, but shall not be entitled to additional compensation.

‘Unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances’ means a situation beyond the control of the party who invokes such a situation and the consequences of which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

The performance of the contract must be absolutely and objectively impossible. If there is no objective justification, but only personal concerns, this means that the termination is considered due to subjective reasons and to the fault of the traveler. Therefore, you shall be obliged to pay a termination fee to the organizer.

This may cover for example warfare, other serious security problems such as terrorism, significant risks to human health such as the outbreak of a serious disease at the travel destination, or natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes or weather conditions which make it impossible to travel safely to the destination as agreed in the package travel contract.

We strongly advise our clients to carefully read the organizer’s terms of use before traveling. Stay informed about the situation in the chosen destination and follow the information on the Ministry of foreign affair’s website.
And most importantly – stay cautious and well informed!

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Vassil Kostov

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