Package Travel Directive and regulations

The Package Travel Directive (PTD) came into effect in 1990 and its provisions were introduced into UK law through the Package Travel Regulations (PTR) in 1992.

The PTD and PTR introduced requirements on the organisers and sellers of package holidays to provide greater protection to purchasers of package holidays in three main areas:

  • The provision of information
  • Financial protection and  repatriation in the event of company failure
  • A specific regime for contractual liability in respect of package holidays.

The PTD and PTR have contributed significantly to consumer protection rights since their introduction. However, following major changes in the marketplace for travel services, they are now under review.

Revision of the Package Travel Directive

On 9 July the European Commission published proposals for a revised Directive on ‘Package Holidays and Assisted Travel Arrangements’.

Current activities

ABTA undertook a thorough consultation with Members in summer 2013, seeking views on the proposed Directive. The responses received and discussions conducted are now guiding our approach in regular meetings with policymakers in both Brussels and Westminster. In particular, we are seeking additional clarity around the definitions of the key concepts, such as Assisted Travel Arrangements and what constitutes a package within the proposed Directive. We will also be lobbying on those issues identified by Members where amendments to the current text are required.

In Europe, the European Parliament and Council will be scrutinising the Directive proposals over the next few months, until spring 2014. ABTA will remain closely engaged as this develops further. Crucially, we believe that it is important to secure sufficient progress ahead of the European elections, in May 2014.

ABTA Members can keep up to date with the development of the revision process through regular updates in ABTA Today. You can also watch our PTD video for more information.

If you’re an ABTA Member and you would like to ask us a specific question around the revision of PTD, please email us on

The Package Travel Regulations

Responsibility for implementation of the PTRs lies with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS). For most flight-based package holidays, the security for the protection of customer money is provided by the Air Transport Organisers’ Licensing scheme managed by the Civil Aviation Authority.

The ATOL scheme in the UK has recently been reformed; please visit the ATOL reform page for more information. Once the revised Package Travel Directive has been adopted, the UK Government will have 18 months to update the PTRs to reflect the changes.

It is likely that the revision process will have ramifications for the recently revised ATOL scheme within the UK. If this is the case, ATOL would have to be amended to comply with a revised Directive.