Lithuanian parliament reinforces tourist protection

The amendments were drafted in view of the cases of insolvency and bankruptcy of tour operators last year, when tourists had to shoulder direct damages. A total of 98 MPs voted in favour of the new provisions with five votes against and 12 abstentions.

The adopted amendments will extend the requirements for obtaining a tour operator’s license. When submitting to the State Department of Tourism their certificate of good repute of the prescribed form, applicants will also have to provide confirmation of non-participation of individuals in the past five years in the work of other tour operators that became insolvent, were declared bankrupt, or were subject to bankruptcy proceedings, thus causing damages to tourists. Individuals will not be considered to be of good repute if found guilty of any intentional offences; if their conviction has neither expired nor been annulled; or if individuals were punished for administrative offences in the area of property rights, trade, finance, accounting or statistics over the past five years.

The Seimas also introduced more stringent terms and obligations on liability and adjusted the size of guarantee for the discharge of obligations. The Law lays down a general obligation for tour operators to ensure that the guarantee is sufficient size for the discharge of obligations and to increase it, where appropriate. If a tour operator’s guarantee for the discharge of obligations is inferior to that provided for in the Law, the tour operator will immediately, but no later than in one working day, contact the insurance company or the relevant financial institution for adjustment of the size of guarantee for the discharge of obligations.

The amendments increased the limit of liability for tour operators engaged in outbound tourism. For travel other than by charter flights, the insured amount is set at EUR 50,000, and for outbound tourism by charter flights the limit of liability is EUR 200,000. In both cases, the value of liability will amount to at least 7 percent of the planned revenue from package tour sales for the coming four quarters, but no less than 7 percent of the annual revenue from package tour sales under all tourism service provision contracts entered into by the tour operator during four successive past quarters. For tour operators engaged in domestic tourism, the insurance sum has been reduced from EUR 14,481 to EUR 3,000.

Under the amended Law, the requirements for tour operators will equally apply to operators engaged in distance selling of package tours and/or individual tourism services.

The adopted amendments will enter into force on 1 November 2015.

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