TOURISM : MEPS URGE MEASURES TO BETTER PROTECT CONSUMERS.
Will there soon be a new black list at the European level? The European Parliament'a Committee on Transport and Tourism calls on the European Commission to establish a black list with the names of defaulting charter operators and intermediaries who leave behind passengers as a result of bankruptcy. In broader terms, it calls on the Commission to start a reflection on the protection of such passengers. This is one of the points appearing in the parliamentary committee's own-initiative report for a renewed EU tourism policy on 9 October. The report was adopted by a comfortable majority (33 votes in favour, one against and no abstention). The rapporteur was the chair of the committee, Paolo Costa (ALDE, Italy).
In order to keep up with technological evolution, MEPs have found that a consumers' protection framework is necessary for electronic travel reservations. Indeed, more and more tourists bypass intermediates. One of the options evoked calls for a harmonisation of regulations for both traditional tour operators or travel agents and providers of online services.
The report also looks at several options to promote tourism in Europe and highlights the need to simplify visa application procedures in a reciprocal manner and to reduce the cost of tourist visas. It calls on member states that are party to the Schengen agreement to establish common consular desks for the granting of visas and stresses the need to review, in the Community code on visas, the number and type of documents that are requested from visa applicants.
MEPs point out that tour operators and transport companies require longer-term visas (valid for at least one year).