Government draft for the implementation of the new EU Package Travel Directive in Austria
On Feb. 28, 2017 the Austrian Federal Ministy of Justice has published its draft for the implementation of the EU Package Travel Directive 2015/2302. Instead of the current provsions related to package travel in the Consumer Protection Act, there will be a separate Package Travel Act (Pauschalreisegesetz - PRG). This seems reasonable as the protection provided by the Directive is not limited to consumers only. On the other hand, it will lead to further fragmentation of civil law and from this view it would have been better to include the new provsions in the Austrian Civil Code (ABGB).
The proposed PRG will contain provisions on information duties and obligatory contetn of the contract which are currently regulated by the Commercial Code. Although the new Act is of civil law nature, it provides for administrative fines if the organiser fails to comply with these duties.
The PRG introduces the concept of "travel arrangements" which fall somewhere in between a package and a sale of single services.
To a large extent, the proposed implementation follwows the wording of the Directive and therefore shows the same shortcomings like for instance the unfortunate defintion of "unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances" which play a key role for liability and the right of withdrawal. Depending on the interpretation of the new wording, the organiser's liability may change from fault liability with reversed burden of proof to strict liability.
The draft does not address insolvency protection which will be subject to separate legislation.
The draft can be found in German at https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/RegV/REGV_COO_2026_100_2_1335456/REGV_COO_2026_100_2_1335456.pdf and the explanatory remarks are available at https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/RegV/REGV_COO_2026_100_2_1335456/COO_2026_100_2_1347174.pdf