HomeTourismHotel and ticket aggregators do not want to be tour operators

Hotel and ticket aggregators do not want to be tour operators

A new public organization will appear in tourism. The Association of Tourist Aggregators (ATAG) is establishing online booking services for hotels and air tickets. Its registration with the Ministry of Justice is planned to be completed in March. The first participants were Yandex.Travel, Ostrovok.ru, MTS Travel and Tutu.ru. Subsequently, other travel service aggregators may join them.

From the release available to TourDom.ru, it follows that one of the key tasks of the association will be “to find effective approaches to regulating the tourism industry.” Obviously, the participants expect that their voice will be heard when discussing legislative initiatives concerning the activities of travel aggregators. There are already a lot of questions. “Back in 2018, the legal status of aggregators of information about goods (services) was defined in the Law of the Russian Federation on the Protection of Consumer Rights. But there is no corresponding norm about tourism aggregators in industry No. 132-FZ on tourism. For this reason, many may have the impression that tour aggregators do not bear any responsibility to tourists, although it is spelled out in legislation,” says ATAG head Yulia Skoromolova as an example. Another topic is the Guest House Law recently adopted in the first reading. If it is finally approved, online booking services will not be able to display on their sites such objects that have not provided a registration number. “We are for market transparency, but we would like the guest houses themselves to be responsible for the correctness of the information given to us, because aggregators do not have the authority to verify it,” explains the head of ATAG.

By the way, regarding the first question – the inclusion of provisions on the activities of online travel booking services in the industry law – some observers are of the opinion that in this way travel aggregators expect to completely distance themselves from other participants in the travel market. Now some large companies voluntarily receive the status of tour operators – they are included in the Unified Federal Register, and issue financial guarantees for greater peace of mind for clients. If the rule on a special, separate status for aggregators can be lobbied for, such a need will simply disappear. This worries tour operators, because they may find themselves in extremely unfavorable conditions compared to aggregators. As an expert close to the federal government told the TourDom.ru portal, one of the large online tourism services tried to lobby through the Federation Council for a “special status” in the Tourism Law back in 2020. By uniting into an association, it will be easier for aggregators to defend a consolidated position.

ATAG includes four very significant companies, but it sometimes takes years to gain sufficient authority as a public structure. Therefore, it is not a fact that the association will be able to quickly establish a dialogue with legislators. However, one of the experts notes that other examples are known: the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), due to the high status of its participants, took very little time to become very influential.

Source: Tourdom



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