22 June 2015
If you buy a trip that includes accommodation as well as guided exercise, equipment rentals or other such travel services as essential elements of the trip, it is a package tour. The party that put together and sold such a package tour is the tour organiser. Before purchasing a package tour, it is worth your while to check that the tour organiser in question is included in the register of travel agencies maintained by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority and that it has the necessary security to cover prepayments by travellers.
Travellers’ rights vary depending on whether they are on a package tour or travelling independently, and on the mode of transport in question. Examples of package tours include traditional group tours and packages that include flight tickets and hotel accommodation. In recent years, hobby and well-being trips, such as for yoga, have become common.
On a package tour, the traveller is protected under general package tour terms and conditions from the moment of purchase until the end of the journey. This includes the rights to cancel the trip and to receive assistance in problem situations. The tour organiser is also responsible for services included in the tour, such as transport and accommodation. The tour organiser may not transfer responsibility, for instance, to subcontractors such as transport companies, accommodation companies or other travel agencies.
When a package tour is paid in advance, the tour organiser must lodge security to cover against insolvency. If the tour organiser goes bankrupt, the security is used to refund both the costs of return transport and advance payments. The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority maintains a register of package travel agencies from which it can be verified whether the company marketing the tour has lodged appropriate security.
Register of package travel agencies maintained by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority
Package tours: the traveller’s rights in the most common problem situations