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Do consumers have a legal right to the beach and pool on vacation?


Do consumers have a legal right to the beach and pool on vacation? Created: 01/12/2023 13:28 By: Yannick Hanke Corona can fool many holidaymakers. But is there a legal entitlement to the pool and beach at all? © Clara Margais/Manuel Navarro/dpa/Montage Anyone who flies or drives on vacation sometimes also wants to enjoy the pool or the beach. Do consumers have a legal right? The verdict has be

Do consumers have a legal right to the beach and pool on vacation?

Created: 01/12/2023 13:28

By: Yannick Hanke

Corona can fool many holidaymakers.

But is there a legal entitlement to the pool and beach at all?

© Clara Margais/Manuel Navarro/dpa/Montage

Anyone who flies or drives on vacation sometimes also wants to enjoy the pool or the beach.

Do consumers have a legal right?

The verdict has been made.

Berlin – Imagine starting your vacation in another country and from one day to the next almost nothing is possible.

This is what happened in March 2020, when a couple found themselves confronted with the Corona lockdown measures shortly after arriving at their holiday destination.

As a result, a claim for reimbursement of the travel price was filed.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has now answered the following question: Do consumers even have a legal right to the beach and pool on holiday?

European Court of Justice with judgment: Vacationers get their money back if they have corona problems on a package tour

As the ECJ decided on Thursday, January 12, 2023, package holidaymakers can in principle demand money back from the tour operator if Corona has put a spanner in the works.

According to the European Court of Justice, a corresponding EU directive is also applicable to corona restrictions.

And the tour operator cannot claim that the authorities and not himself are responsible for the corona measures.

The background is the aforementioned case of the couple, who were confronted with strict corona measures two days after their arrival.

As ZDF reports, the tour operator would have given the green light in March 2020, although the first reports of corona cases in Europe had already been received.

A couple from North Rhine-Westphalia who had flown to Gran Canaria for two weeks with FTI Touristik was also affected.

Beach, pool, animation - the classic package tour.


Because the pandemic should have other plans for vacationers.

Corona already struck two days after arriving in Gran Canaria.

The administration had to close the beaches, there was a curfew.

Pool and berths?


In general, hotel guests were only allowed to leave their room to eat or to collect drinks.

Of course, that doesn't sound like a dream vacation.

What followed was a lawsuit.

New package travel law in Germany has benefited consumers since July 2018

So now the European Court of Justice has made a decision.

This is also intended to provide some clarity as to what rights travelers have in times of the corona pandemic.

It was only in 2018 that German legislators reorganized travel law on the basis of an EU legal line.

Consumers are therefore comprehensively protected, especially in the context of so-called package tours.

What the new travel category "joined travel services" is all about

A new package travel law has been in force in Germany since July 1, 2018.

In connection with this, a new travel category was introduced in order to strengthen the rights of individual travellers: the associated travel services.

This arises when an intermediary – i.e. either a travel agency or an online portal – arranges at least two travel services offered by different providers (e.g. flight and hotel) for the same trip for the traveler as part of a consultation, or the traveler arranges a second travel service within 24 hours booked for the same trip with the intermediary”, says the lawyer Kay P. Rodegra in the ZDF service magazine “Volle Kanne”.

Although such a trip would not be a package tour, the traveler still receives a certain basic level of protection.

And travel agents, whether they are travel agencies or online portals, must inform the traveler whether they are booking a package holiday or linked travel arrangements.

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Package tours mean vacations in which several services - for example hotel and flight - are offered together.

In principle, the organizer must carry out the entire trip free of defects.

And if the holiday does not correspond to what was previously agreed, a reduction can be demanded.

Compensation for damages and withdrawal are also possible.

District Court of Munich rejects claim for reimbursement – ​​European Court of Justice makes judgment

Back to the specific case study, the couple from North Rhine-Westphalia.

For the lost holiday enjoyment, the two had sued for a refund of 70 percent of the pro rata travel price.

However, the claim was rejected by the Munich district court in the first instance.

Because measures to protect health due to a deadly virus would not constitute a lack of travel, the court justified its decision.

In addition, the plaintiffs in Germany would not have fared much better.

After all, there was also the first lockdown in this country at the same time.

Accordingly, the vacationers were not disadvantaged, so the argument.

The European Court of Justice sees it differently.

The Advocate General of the ECJ had already noted in her Opinion that extraordinary circumstances do not release the tour operator from his obligation to grant a price reduction.

According to this, vacationers would have comprehensive rights even during a pandemic.

How the European Court of Justice justified its judgment in favor of vacationers in Corona times

Since the promised services were not provided, the European Court of Justice has now ruled in favor of the vacationers.

The corresponding EU directive provides for "a no-fault liability of the tour operator".

But there is also an exception.

And the tour operator does not have to reimburse any money if the tourists themselves are to blame for the defects, so-called "contractual violations".

However, this is not the case with corona restrictions.

However, the European Court of Justice has not decided how much money the two plaintiffs from North Rhine-Westphalia will get back.

That must now be determined by the district court of Munich.

And also assess to what extent the value of the trip was reduced by a closed beach or pool.

Or also by the fact that the tourists could not visit Gran Canaria due to the corona restrictions.

Tourism in times of Corona: Consumers cancel trips for fear of infection - and are left with the costs

In the run-up to this verdict, it was unclear what effects such a verdict would have on other cases in which travelers on vacation were overwhelmed by corona restrictions.

If lawyer Holger Hopperdietzel has his way, further demands could be made on tour operators.

But only if they are not yet statute-barred.

After all, in travel law there is a statute of limitations of only two years after the end of the holiday, according to the travel law expert.

According to Hopperdietzel, in times of tourism within a pandemic, many procedures would also revolve around questions of withdrawal.

Especially at the beginning of the pandemic, many holidaymakers canceled booked trips in advance for fear of being infected with the corona virus.

They were left with the high cancellation costs.

And whether these were justified, courts had decided very differently.

Vacation canceled due to fear of infection: Federal Court of Justice agrees with pensioner

There was the case of an 84-year-old who, shortly before a Danube cruise in June 2020, canceled the planned trip out of caution because of a previous pneumonia.

The judgment of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH): the woman does not have to pay any cancellation costs.

Occasionally other cases were also submitted to the ECJ for a decision.

The verdicts are still pending here.

But the case of the couple from North Rhine-Westphalia could have gotten the proverbial ball rolling.

Source: merkur

All life articles on 2023-01-12

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