Within the bounds of the law

Within the bounds of the law

Expert Reports  

Tour aggregators are currently outside the legal framework. However, their ‘freedom’ should soon end as the government authorities are discussing a bill to introduce liability for the information posted on such Internet platforms.

What is a tour aggregator? This is an operator (system) that accumulates current offers from various tour operators in its database. The main emphasis is on tours and information about various special travel offers. Large tour aggregators have tens of thousands of offers. The tour aggregator’s search system allows people to choose a tour using several filters at once, for example, by departure date, resort, hotel, meals, cost, location, and so on. All this happens online, which significantly saves the clients’ time and provides them with a large choice of offers.

It is worth mentioning that in the tourism industry, ideally, a tour aggregator is a catalog of tours from different travel organizations. At the same time, a tour aggregator usually contains tours from one travel company or several large travel companies, since its main product - a tour - is still created by the tour operator, and travel agents, in fact, just resell them.

On September 28, the representatives of the tourism industry together with legislators discussed the bill that would define the concept of a ‘tour aggregator’ in the legal field at a closed meeting of the State Duma Committee on Tourism and Tourism Infrastructure Development.

According to a number of media outlets having access to the bill, the document states that the tour aggregator should not be held responsible for the services provided by a contractor chosen. But, at the same time, tour aggregators will have to compensate for losses that tourists may incur due to unreliable or incomplete information posted on the portal.

By the way, tour aggregators today account for 15 to 45 percent of tour package sales, depending on the specific type of travel services.