Travel and Tourism Law

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Although once considered a rare luxury, the opportunity to travel is now available to more people than ever before. The increase of low cost air fares and accessibility of airports, ferries and railways means that large numbers of people regularly travel within the UK and abroad. The travel industry provides a significant fiscal contribution to many economies and is the main industry in many countries. The size of the industry, in addition to the issue of health and safety when travelling, means that it is subject to a raft of laws and regulations.

There are a number of industry specific laws aimed at regulating the travel and tourism industry such as aviation laws and laws regarding travelling cross borders with minors. Due to the nature of the industry, it is necessary to take into account the differing laws applied in each jurisdiction. In an attempt to simplify the system, there are a number of European regulations and conventions which apply across the continent, and many international conventions which include countries outside of Europe. Although there has been some attempt at unification, there are still many differences between each jurisdiction and expert advice may be required should you face a legal issue whilst travelling.

In addition to the laws governing the industry, the travel and tourism sector must also apply and adhere to other laws and regulations that apply to all businesses. For example, contract law governs the sale of holidays as well as potential cancellations and claims that the contract has been breached. Whilst these can occur between a travel business and consumer, they can also occur during a transaction between two businesses. In such an instance, both parties would be subject to the law governing contractual relations with reference to any industry specific regulations which may apply. Similarly, elements of employment law, revenue law, insurance law, equality law, consumer law and fair trading all apply to businesses and consumers operating within the industry.

Many travel companies have an in-house legal team or rely on external legal advisers to ensure they are up to date with the relevant legislation and that they are operating legally. However, disputes can arise and businesses may find themselves faced with complaints about their conduct or service and threats of legal action.

When considering legal action against a business operating within the industry it is advisable to seek advice from a professional who has relevant experience within the industry. The additional industry specific regulations can add significant liabilities to businesses or provide certain exemptions. What may appear to be a seemingly straightforward business transaction could be more complicated if the businesses involved operate within the travel and tourism sector and thus require specific legal expertise. Whilst the law governing travel and tourism is increasingly complex, it is necessary to ensure that businesses operate legally, fairly and appropriately and that consumers can travel as freely and as safely as possible.  

This post comes from Travel and Tourism Law at ASB Law.

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