The new Tourism Act of 2017 envisages the adoption of a tourism development strategy in our country. However, without the internal arrangements between tourist service providers and service users, any strategy and planning to improve the quality of services would be deficient and useless.
It is commonly known that tourist agencies have certain obligations towards their clients in the course of legal transactions, package-arrangements and contracts conclusion, but service users are usually not presented obligations of tourist agencies prescribed by the Tourism Act.
What every service user should be aware of in case that a tourist agency does not meet his/her expectations, i.e. in case something “goes wrong” all tourist agencies shall have legal obligations such as:
- Making general terms and conditions of travel arrangements and programs,
- Taking actions that are prescribed under the law regulating client’s rights in the Republic of Srpska (pre-contract notification, conclusion of package arrangement contracts (travel organization contract);
- Securing a guarantee for the performance of the travel agency's activities;
- Compliance with fixed prices and contents of individual services (sightseeing, bookings, excursions, etc.) and all conditions stated in general travel terms and conditions, travel program and contract and to act in good faith in all business transactions,
- In case of a cancellation of travel, to timely enable repayment of the funds paid by the clients;
- Securing accommodation during the duration of the agreed trip;
- Ensuring the safe return of the client to the destination;
- Taking care that the clients are not kept longer on a trip for no reason than it was anticipated by the travel program;
- To offer to the user of tourist services insurance against consequences of an accident, injury, death, damage or loss of luggage, voluntary health insurance during travel and stay abroad, and travel cancellation insurance,
- To engage, in the language of the group for which the arrangement is being realized, at least one tourist guide or a tour escort for a group of 10-50 users of tourist services, and at least one for each additional 50 users of tourist services, or at least one tourist guide or tourist escort on every double-decker bus;
- For the entire duration of the tourist trip, enable the tourist service user a simple and accessible way of addressing a person authorized to receive complaints,
- To keep information about the tourist service user as a business secret, and should not disclose it to another person without his/her explicit consent;
- To publish the terms, content and price of each individual service (sightseeing, reservations, excursions, etc.) and adhere it in its all promotional and advertising materials.
In the general terms of business of each agency, the agency must foresee certain rights and obligations, so when deciding about any service provided by that particular agency (most frequent travels) users should be familiar of the following:
- The right of the agency to reimburse the costs incurred if the user of the tourist service withdraws from the contract due to circumstances that he/she could not avoid or eliminate and which if existed at the time of conclusion of the contract constituted a justified reason not to conclude the contract
- The right of the tourist service user to reimburse the costs incurred when he/she has provided the appropriate replacement or the replacement has been found by the agency,
- Responsibility of the agency when it entrusts the performance of services to third parties,
- The rights of the tourist service user in the event of cancellation of travel,
- Conditions for changing the agreed travel price,
- Information on the content of the guarantee for insurance against liability for damage, and
- Clarification of the procedure, deadlines and obligations of the agency in connection with the reclamation due to cancellation of travel, non-execution or incomplete performance of services covered by the travel program.
The Agency is obliged to make general travel terms and conditions available to users of tourist services and hand them a travel program, while the users of services should not be guided exclusively by the price of services for a particular destination when choosing an agency.
Nowadays, it would certainly be the best to read the general travel terms and conditions of each agency prior to any trip, in order to become familiar with the agency’s obligation and the rights of service users and then choose which agency they will engage to organize their trip.
Contact: Zeljko Vlacic, e-mail: email@example.com