Package travel

1. General

A package travel means the pre-arranged combination of not fewer than two of the following when sold or offered for sale at an inclusive price and when the service covers a period of more than twenty-four hours or includes overnight accommodation:

  • transport;
  • accommodation;
  • other tourist services not ancillary to transport or accommodation and accounting for a significant proportion of the package.

The organizer is the agency that practically does all the activities included in the package travel: ensuring the transport, the accommodation, offering and selling the packages directly to consumers or through an intermediary.

The retailer deals only with effectively selling the package travel.

The travel agencies must have a tourism license in order to sell package travel in Romania. The tourism license is issued by the Tourism Ministry and shows the agency has the capacity to sell safe and good quality services for consumers.

As a supplementary measure of protection for tourists, the travel agencies’ managers must obtain also from the Ministry of Tourism a certificate of tourism, showing that person is a professional in this field. Both documents are not transmissible.

The travel agencies must display these two documents, in authentic copy, inside their locations, in visible place. The documents issued by the travel agencies must show the number of the tourism license.

2. The package travel contract

Any information on the package travel, its price and any other applicable conditions, communicated to the consumer must contain clear and correct indications, which must not allow equivocal interpretation.

The travel agency has the obligation to give consumers, in written, information on:

  • destination;
  • itinerary;
  • means of transport, their characteristics and their category;
  • type of accommodation, addresses and classification.
  • meals;
  • the program duration, moment of arrival and departure;
  • general information on the passports and visas regime, on travel health insurance;
  • the amount of the advance payment, if it is the case and the time limit for paying the rest;
  • the minimum number of persons necessary for the program and the time limit for informing the tourist in case the travel is canceled;
  • the possibilities to conclude optional health insurance;
  • the period for which the offer is valid.

The contract must contain at least the following terms:

  • the destination, duration, arrival and departure dates;
  • means of transport, characteristics and classification, dates, hours and arrival/departure places.
  • if the travel package includes accommodation, the address and classification;
  • types of meals;
  • the minimum number of persons necessary for the program and the time limit for informing the tourist in case the travel is canceled;
  • itinerary;
  • visits or other services included in total price;
  • name and address of the organizer, the retailer and the insurer;
  • the travel package price, indicating where it can be modified and the tariffs for certain services: landing taxes, boarding in ports and airports, tourist taxes, if these are not included in the price of the travel package;
  • time limits and payment method;
  • any special requests from the tourist made known to the organizer or to the retailer;
  • time limits to send a possible claim for breach of contract;
  • conditions to modify or cancel the contract;
  • the travel agency’s obligations in case the journey is canceled
  • the possibility to transfer the contract to a third person;
  • any possible modification the travel agency can make to the package;
  • the travel agency’s liability and tourist compensation.

As a supplementary protection measure, through Order 516/2005 of Transport, Constructions and Tourism Ministry, a model of travel package contract was approved. It contains all the minimum terms and must be used by all travel agencies.

The package travel contract must be in written. The contract is concluded in two copies, one for each party, signed by both of them and one copy is given to the consumer.

According legal provisions, the contract can also have the form of a flyer, catalogue or any other document, if the tourist is informed before the signing.

If the travel agency accepts to sell a travel package which is not a part of its offer, it must give the tourist an order ticket.

The order ticket should contain the following elements:

  • destination, duration, arrival and departure dates;
  • transport means and their category;
  • type and category of accommodation;
  • meal services;
  • requested tourist program;
  • number of persons for whom the package travel is ordered, number of children, age and identification documents;
  • any other special requests.

The contract is concluded when the tourist receives the written confirmation of the reservation. This must be sent by the agency in at most 60 calendar days from the moment the order ticket is signed.

In case the content of the order ticket is different from that of the confirmation or if the confirmation wasn’t made in 60 days from the signing of the order ticket, the voyage is regarded as non-reserved and the tourist has the right to be fully reimbursed.

If the tourist and the travel agency agree the contract can be closed even when the confirmation was not made in 60 calendar days.

The organizer and/or retailer shall also provide the consumer, in writing or any other appropriate form, with the following information in good time before the start of the journey:

  • the times and places of intermediate stops and transport connections as well as details of the place to be occupied by the traveler, e.g. cabin or berth on ship, sleeper compartment on train;
  • the name, address and telephone number of the organizer’s and/or retailer’s local representative or, failing that, of local agencies on whose assistance a consumer in difficulty could call. Where no such representatives or agencies exist, the consumer must in any case be provided with an emergency telephone number or any other information that will enable him to contract the organizer and/or the retailer;
  • in the case of journeys or stays abroad by minors, information enabling direct contact to be established with the child or the person responsible at the child’s place of stay;
  • information on the optional conclusion of an insurance policy to cover the cost of cancellation by the consumer.

The prices laid down in the contract shall not be subject to revision unless the contract expressly provides for the possibility of upward or downward revision and states precisely how the revised price is to be calculated, and solely to allow for variations in:

  • transportation costs, including the cost of fuel,
  • dues, taxes or fees chargeable for certain services, such as landing taxes or embarkation or disembarkation fees at ports and airports,
  • the exchange rates applied to the particular package.

During the twenty days prior to the departure date stipulated, the price stated in the contract shall not be increased.

If the contract prices are raised with more than 10 %, regardless of the reasons, the tourist can withdraw from the contract with no obligation towards the travel agency, which has the obligation to reimburse immediately any paid amounts, including the commission.

If the tourist cannot make the journey, he can transmit the contract to a third person complying with the conditions in the contract. The cession can only be made if the travel agency is given notice. The tourist and the third person are solidary liable for paying the price and any supplementary costs.

If the travel agency is constrained to modify one of the essential provisions of the contract, it is obliged to notify the tourist with at least 15 days before departure, and he is obliged to communicate to the agency, in 5 days from the moment the notification was received, his decision to choose:

  • to withdraw from the contract without paying any penalties;
  • to accept the new conditions of the contract.

If the consumer withdraws from the contract or if, for whatever cause, other than the fault of the consumer, the organizer cancels the package before the agreed date of departure, the consumer shall be entitled:

  • either to take a substitute package of equivalent or higher quality where the organizer and/or retailer is able to offer him such a substitute. If the replacement package offered is of lower quality, the organizer shall refund the difference in price to the consumer;
  • or to be repaid as soon as possible all sums paid by him under the contract.

The tourist can withdraw from the contract at any moment. If the contract is canceled due to the consumer’s fault, he will compensate the travel agency for any damages. The damages can be at most equal to the price of the package.

If the cancellation was made due to the fault of the travel agency the tourist can ask for compensation, except where:

  • cancellation is on the grounds that the number of persons enrolled for the package is less than the minimum number required and the consumer is informed of the cancellation, in writing, within 15 calendar days before departure; or
  • cancellation, excluding overbooking, is for reasons of force majeure, i.e. unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond the control of the party by whom it is pleaded, the consequences of which could not have been avoided even if all due care had been exercised.
  • cancellation is due to the tourist’s fault.

Where, after departure, a significant proportion of the services contracted for is not provided or the organizer perceives that he will be unable to procure a significant proportion of the services to be provided, the organizer shall make suitable alternative arrangements, at no extra cost to the consumer, for the continuation of the package, and where appropriate compensate the consumer for the difference between the services offered and those supplied.

If it is impossible to make such arrangements or these are not accepted by the consumer for good reasons, the organizer shall, where appropriate, provide the consumer, at no extra cost, with equivalent transport back to the place of departure, or to another return-point to which the consumer has agreed and shall, where appropriate, compensate the consumer.

The tourist has the obligation to inform in written, both the service provider (hotel etc.) and the travel agency on the deficiencies observed.

The travel agencies are not liable when:

  • the failures which occur in the performance of the contract are attributable to the consumer,
  • such failures are attributable to a third party unconnected with the provision of the services contracted for, and are unforeseeable or unavoidable,
  • such failures are due to a case of force majeure or to an event which the organizer and/or retailer or the supplier of services, even with all due care, could not foresee or forestall.

The travel agencies must have insurance for repatriation or reimbursing the amounts paid by the tourists in case of bankruptcy. Without the insurance the travel agencies cannot sell package travel, as their tourism license is suspended.

The travel agencies must inform the tourist on the insurance by inscribing it in the contract. The contract must also show the conditions and time limits when the tourist can ask for compensation.

If the travel agency cannot bring the tourist back home, only due to bankruptcy, the tourist must inform immediately the insurer by phone, fax or e-mail.