May 9, 2020 / 9:00 AM / 3 months ago

EU Commission calls for state guarantees for vouchers for cancelled travel

BRUSSELS, May 9 (Reuters) - The European Commission will tell countries in the European Union to provide state guarantees for travel vouchers during the coronavirus pandemic, if they prefer people to accept the vouchers instead of cash refunds, according to a strategy document seen by Reuters.

The EU executive is due on Wednesday to present guidance and recommendations for member states on gradually lifting internal border restrictions, restarting travel and reviving the ailing tourism sector.

Germany and other member states have called for a suspension of EU rules that force cash-drained airlines and the hospitality industry to offer full refunds for cancelled flights and visits instead of vouchers for future travel.

The Commission will tell member states to make vouchers more attractive to encourage customers to accept them.

"To provide incentives for passengers and travellers to accept vouchers instead of reimbursement, vouchers should be protected against insolvency of the issuer and remain refundable by the end of their validity if not redeemed," the draft document said.

"Insolvency protection needs to be assured at the national level and secured vouchers need to be accessible to all passengers and travellers," it said.

The document also said vouchers should be more flexible and widely transferable to other services available. (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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