Austria: Court of appeal decision on information about Ramadan related restrictions

Oberlandesgericht Wien (Vienna Court of Appeal) recently decided that tour organizers and travel agents have a duty to inform about Ramadan related restrictions in hotel services. Plaintiff had booked a package tour to Abu Dahbi including accommodation in the well reputed luxury hotel “Emirates Palace”. At arrival plaintiff and his wife were told that due to Ramadan breakfast time is limited to 11 am. Next morning they entered the breakfast room shortly before 11 am, the plaintiff wearing shorts and a short sleeve shirt. He was told that the hotel’s dress code requires trousers and jacket in breakfast room but, however, as an exception allowed to stay for this time. When on the beach they ordered cigarettes and beer they were told that this was impossible due to Ramadan, kiosk, restaurant and café at the beach and the other 20 restaurants within the hotel area were closed, eating, drinking and smoking in public was prohibited and could only be done in the hotel room. As due to the booking situation it was impossible to change hotel, they broke off their vacations. The competent employee of the tour organizer knew about the Ramadan but did not tell the travel agent where the tour was booked.Court of appeal held that the tour organizer had culpably failed to inform about Ramadan related restrictions and therefore granted repayment of full prize and compensation for loss of holiday enjoyment.(Oberlandesgericht Wien 27.02.2007, 4 R 153/06h)

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