Packaged holidays date back to the Victorian era. Convenient and cheap, package holidays appeal to someone who has little time to plan a trip or lacks the ability to organise a holiday. Here are a few characteristics that define a packaged holiday.
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A package holiday is defined as a pre-arranged holiday or trip that is available at an inclusive price. To be considered a packaged holiday, the trip must be at least 24 hours long. It must also include at least two of the following: travel, accommodation and tourist activity or service.
Booking the trip involves a contract where the consumer agrees to the holiday. The consumer selects a specific location with its activities and amenities. These must be met by the agency providing the holiday. It is important to read through all paperwork and brochures provided that describe the itinerary and features.
The agency is liable "for proper performance of the obligations under the contract, irrespective of whether such obligations are to be performed by the organiser, the retailer or any other suppliers of services," according to the Package Holiday and Travel Trade Act. The act is part of the Irish Statute and was passed in 1995. This means the person selling the holiday is responsible for everything listed. Anything that is listed and not included the provider must refund or face penalties.
The National Consumer Agency is a national group in Ireland that protects the rights of consumers. To ensure that consumers are safe when booking packaged holidays, the National Consumer Agency regularly checks brochures and paperwork to assure packaged holidays include everything stated. Consumers can make complaints about holidays at anytime to the National Consumer Agency about fraudulent packaged holidays.
If a package holiday is cancelled by the agent, a full refund or replacement trip must be provided. The trip must be of equal value; if it is less the agency must refund the entire difference. The trip can be cancelled for acts beyond the agency's control, but refunds must be given.
Package holidays first appeared in 1841 when Thomas Cook took a chartered train 20 miles from Leicester in the United Kingdom to Loughborough. In the 1970s, package holidays gained even more popularity when people needed a cheap way to travel abroad from the United Kingdom.
Package holidays are losing interest with the mass public since the introduction of budget airlines. However, to interest more people, agencies are offering the option to allow travellers to pick and choose what their holidays include. Since the introduction of package holidays, the British seaside has seen fewer visitors.
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