Travel agents and operators struggle with refunds amid cancellations

The Chamber of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses said travel agents and operators were facing difficulties in issuing refunds because travel companies were not refunding the travel fares and packages which had been cancelled. In comments to Television Malta, GRTU Chief Executive Abigail Mamo said that they were in negotiations with the Government in connection with the directive on travel packages, while appealing to the public to understand the difficult situation which the tourism industry was facing worldwide.

The number of people waiting for a refunds for a cancelled trip was increasing. Travel agents and operators were caught between customers waiting for a refund, and foreign companies and private operators.

In comments to Television Malta, GRTU chief executive Abigail Mamo said that operators and travel agents were among the worst businesses affected by the pandemic.

She added that the travel pckage directive, which requires a refund to be granted within two weeks, was not intended for a large number of trips canceled in the same period.

Ms Mamo said the GRTU was in negotiations with the Government to find a mechanism that did not impose an unbearable financial burden on travel agents and operators.

“This mechanism will ultimately lead to money that tour operators and travel agents do not have, as they have already passed it on to other private operators, be it accommodation, flights or cruise liners, then they do not have that money, so they ought not be burdened with this responsibility of having to take the money out of their pockets, in a situation where they are already seeing how they will be able to get by like the rest of the world. Maltese businesses. ”

The GRTU Chief Executive said the interests of the consumer would be protected, while appealing for caution among people awaiting a refund.

“It doesn’t mean that consumer rights should not be protected, rather we are seeing that they will be protected, but ultimately we want the industry to survive.”

Ms Mamo said she is confident that in the coming weeks a solution would be found that would help the tourism industry not to bear the brunt of the pandemic while consumers received what is their due.

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