A few tips for tourists who purchase “tour packages” in Europe (with France as the example): what do you need to know?
A travel package is a service that includes at least two components related to logistics and accommodation, as well as any other tourist services that are provided for at least twenty-four hours (that is, including one night). This is what my blog is about today.
Alan Place, a mountain guide in France, spoke about the rules regarding the provision of travel services in his home country. They are as follows: it turns out that every tourist guide or agency must be registered with Atout France, the agency for the development of tourism in France. This is a prerequisite. Registration is renewed every three years and membership fees are 150 euros.
To obtain registration with Atout France, you must provide financial guarantees for refunds in case of unforeseen circumstances. We are talking about guaranteed obligations of a collective body, a credit institution or an insurance company established in the territory of a member state of the European Union or EEE (Espace Economique Européen).
Warranties must also cover any costs associated with the civic responsibility of the guide or agency.
“There will be no problems if the tourist is injured, the flight is delayed or the trip is cancelled – if everything is in order with the documents, then everyone will be satisfied. Special attention is paid to the provision of travel services to minors. We are talking about ordinary civil liability for any incident, ” explains Alain Place.
To avoid unpleasant consequences as much as possible, private guides in France often prefer to work with travel agencies. Advantage: help and support in case of problems, large advertising budgets. Disadvantage: the agency takes a high percentage of the income of a tour guide.
It is also possible to cooperate with the local tourist office or a registered group of operators (APRIAM). Benefit: help in case of problems, cost reduction. Disadvantage: small advertising budgets. Individual membership is not allowed (you are required to join a local union).
What should I pay attention to before signing a contract with a guide or a travel agency no matter where the trip is to?
There are 21 obligatory clauses of the contract (it must be made in duplicate and signed by both parties).
Mandatory information: the name and address of the seller of the service, his guarantor and his insurer.
Point of destination travel with dates.
Transport: used means, characteristics and categories.
Accommodation: description of the place of residence, location, level of comfort, possible classification.
Detailed description of the route.
List of excursions or any other services provided during the period of stay.
Price: total cost of travel and options for possible revision.
Taxes: an indication of various taxes and fees that are paid additionally (city tax, airport taxes).
Terms and conditions of payment.
Information about the responsibility of the seller of services in the event of improper performance of the contract.
The indication of the deadline for receiving information about the cancellation of travel due to the insufficient number of participants (group tours) – no later than 21 days before the departure date.
Terms of travel cancellation.
Insurance liability of the seller of services: possible risks and guaranteed amounts of payments.
Insurance liability of the buyer of services.
The deadline for informing the seller of services in case of cancellation of the trip by the buyer.
Mandatory contacts of the local representative of the service provider.
Information about the return of funds to the buyer in case of distortion of the information provided.
Time of departure and arrival: Obligation to provide relevant information in advance.
And one more important information about payment services. Prices specified in the contract are subject to revision only if it is expressly provided for in the contract and only the following options are taken into account:
Increased fuel costs,
Introduction of additional fees and taxes,
The sharp rise in exchange rates.
The price set in the contract may be increased no later than thirty days preceding the scheduled departure date.