Responsibilities of a Tour Operator

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If you have bought a package holiday you will have taken out a contract with the tour operator. This agreement will confer certain duties and obligations on the part of the tour operator while also establishing that it owes further duties as outlined in the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992.

As a general rule, the tour operator must properly perform the contract and if any of its suppliers (for example, the hotel or a designated travel provider) break that contract then the tour operator is liable to pay suitable compensation.

However, liability is not strict (this means that it is not automatic). Certain conditions must be met before the tour operator is found to be liable, and these are laid out in a case known as Hone v Going Places.

Hone v Going Places – a case study in strict liability

In the case of Hone the claimant went on holiday with his fiancée. The claimant was said to have "enjoyed" his holiday; however, on the return flight from his break there was an emergency evacuation of the package tour aircraft.

When the claimant was at the top of the aircraft's evacuation chute he noticed a large lady, who had also been on holiday, at the bottom of the chute. In the course of his descent, Mr Hone realised that she was stuck at the bottom of the chute and unable to move away. He opened his legs wide enough to avoid striking her back, but collided with her.

His fiancée followed him down the chute and struck him with the back with her hard-heeled shoes, causing him to suffer acute pain in the spine. He was nevertheless able to climb over the sides of the chute and assist the large lady to her feet. In so doing, he suffered further injury to his back.

After consultation with his doctors and personal injury lawyers, Mr Hone decided to pursue a claim for package holiday compensation. The Court of Appeal decided that although the tour operator was not automatically liable it had to have failed to act with reasonable skill and care.

In practical terms this means that there must be fault on the part of the tour operator. In practice there is no strict liability for package tour claims; instead for a claim to be successful it must be proven that any injury suffered by a claimant must be as a result of improper performance of the contract.

Package holiday claims with Scotland's leading personal injury firm

If you have been involved in an accident on holiday or have suffered holiday illness and are unsure as to your legal rights, contact Thompsons today to discover more on your possible entitlement to compensation.

Regulation 2(1) of the Package Travel Regulations state that a package means the pre-arranged combination of at least two of the following:

    • Transit or transport
    • Accommodation
    • Other services related to transport or accommodation and making up for a significant component of the package holiday

It is worth bearing in mind that although traditional package holidays are included within this definition, so too are tailor-made holidays where the client has selected individual components.

Our specialist personal injury lawyers will be happy to talk things through, free of charge and with no obligation.

To talk to an expert about making a claim, call 0800 0891331 today.

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