What is the scope of this Fund?
The purpose of these regulations is to set-up an Insolvency Fund to provide security for the refund of all payments made by or on behalf of travellers insofar as the relevant services are not performed as a consequence of the organiser’s insolvency, including repatriation where applicable.
The fund shall be managed and administered by a Managing Board, and also to partially transpose the provisions of the Directive (EU) 2015/2302 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on package travel and linked travel arrangements, amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directive 90/314/EEC.
Who qualifies as a package travel organiser?
A package travel organiser means any person/s and/or entities who:
- other than occasionally, organises packages and sells or offers them for sale, whether directly or through a retailer; and/or
sells or offers for sale the package put together by an organiser; or
any person/s or entity who, whether as principal or agent, arranges for, advises on or undertakes to provide to tourists and other persons, whether singly or in groups, travel arrangements in respect of outgoing travel, including accommodation in a hotel, guest house, hostel, holiday premises or house used for the provision of accommodation to tourists; travel by air, land or sea; organised excursions and all other matters normally or by custom connected with the tourism industry; but does not include a hotel keeper, guest house keeper, keeper of holiday premises, a person who provides accommodation to tourists in a house, a tourist guide, a supplier of transport services, an incoming tourism agency, a destination management company or an organised excursion operator and “travel agency” shall be construed accordingly;
What constitutes a Travel Package?
A “travel package” means the pre-arranged combination of no fewer than two of the following when sold or offered for sale at an inclusive price and when the service covers a period of more than
twenty-four hours or includes overnight accommodation:
(c) other tourist services not ancillary to transport or accommodation and accounting for a significant proportion of the package, and shall include such prearranged combinations even when various components thereof are billed separately
The separate billing of various components of the same package shall not absolve the organiser or retailer from his obligations under these regulations.
Who appoints the board members of the Insolvency Fund?
The five voting members of the Board shall be:
(a) two persons to be nominated by the Malta Tourism Authority;
(b) two persons to be nominated by the FATTA; and
(c) one person to be nominated by the Minister.
The Chairman, who shall preside the said Board, shall be appointed by the Minister in consultation with FATTA.
The members of the Board shall hold office for a period of three (3) years, and shall be eligible for re-appointment.
Any member may be removed from the Board prior to the expiration of his term of office on any of the following grounds:
(a) the member has been guilty of misconduct;
(b) the member is unable and, or incompetent to
perform the duties of his office;
(c) the member has acted in gross negligence;
(d) any other acts or omissions unbecoming on a member of the Board.
What are the functions of the Board?
The Board shall have the following functions and any ancillary functions thereto:
(a) to set-up the Fund;
(b) to administer and manage the day-to-day affairs of the Fund;
(c) to decide and examine the current travel package market and decide who shall be deemed as a contributor to the Fund;
(d) to monitor and control that contributors are contributing to the Fund;
(e) to report regularly to the Authority on any matter affecting and, or relating to the Fund and the Fund’s contributors;
(f) to refund and, or repatriate consumers having valid claims in accordance with these regulations;
(g) to undertake any appropriate action in connection with the performance of its functions through the licensing and enforcement directorates of the Malta Tourism Authority;
(h) to assist and cooperate with other member states in accordance with the European Directive;
(i) to annually publish the contributions made by all contributors and such other information as provided for under the Act and any other applicable law;
(j) to recommend to the Authority as to whether a licence shall be issued or not for new applications of travel agents, after it undertakes to carry out an assessment in accordance with its approved terms of reference;
(k) to recommend to the Authority the renewal or otherwise, or the suspension or revocation of travel agents’ licences and other action, as it may deem appropriate, in accordance with its approved terms of reference;
(l) to submit an annual report to the Malta Tourism Authority.
Source: Legal Notice 315 of 2016