Government loan to package tour operators for refunds to travellers
The situation facing the package tour industry is serious. The pandemic has created a situation in which many travellers have not received refunds for trips that have been cancelled by either party or cut short. The Government has therefore adopted an ordinance on a government loan to package tour operators to enable them to repay their outstanding debts to travellers.
Under current legislation, travellers are entitled to a refund within 14 days if a package tour is cancelled by the operator. Travellers can also cancel a package tour free of charge and are entitled to a refund if it is significantly affected by unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances.
The pandemic has meant that under the Package Tours Act (2018:1217), in a short space of time operators need to refund large sums of money to travellers for cancelled or shortened trips, regardless of whether they have received corresponding funds from their subcontractors, for example hotels and airlines. To enable operators to pay their outstanding debts, they will be temporarily offered the possibility to receive a government loan. The low-interest loan will mature in 3 or 6 years.
The loan may be used for refunds for tours booked prior to 31 October 2020 that would have commenced during the period 1 March 2020 to 31 January 2021, or that commenced and were cut short during that period.
Loan applications can be made from 10 February onwards. The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency is the government agency administering the loans, and applications must have been received no later than 1 March to enable loans to be paid out as soon as possible.
The offer of government loans to package tour operators is based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.
Media representatives and journalists should contact the press secretary. Others with questions should call the Government Offices switchboard or email the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation’s senior registry clerk.