Sales of excursions in resort are leading to an increasing number of claims against tour operators following injuries to clients.
Lawyers warn of a growing problem in an area where, until recently, travel companies believed they were acting legally but without liability as agents for excursion providers.
Professor of travel law David Grant said: “Insurers are seeing a steady stream of claims from people hurt on excursions. People injure themselves on skidoos or sandboarding, or are injured by animals.
“There is no difficulty in establishing liability if the excursion is sold as part of a package holiday. But what if it is sold separately at a welcome meeting by a rep?”
Problems arise when the wording in a brochure or a company’s terms and conditions differs from what a rep says in resort. Grant said: “What a company says in its brochure is one thing. What leaflets in resort say can often conflict. What a rep says is often something else. From the legal point of view, everyone says something different.”
Travel law barrister Sarah Prager also warned recently of the growing risk of liability for excursions. She told tour operators in July: “If documents are in line and reps get it right you should avoid liability. The problem is the reps don’t do it.”
Law seminar to tackle excursions
David Grant (pictured) will address a seminar on the issue, organised by Vantage Insurance Services, in central London in a fortnight.
He will be joined by Alex Padfield, managing director of law firm Hextalls, and Vantage underwriter Alan Lumsden – an expert on travel and tourism insurance. Together they will examine the latest case law on excursions and the implications for tour operators and travel retailers.
The half-day seminar is aimed at non-lawyers and is free. It will be held on Thursday 15 September, at 14.00, at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London WC1.
Grant is Vantage Insurance visiting professor of Law at Leeds Metropolitan University. He publishes the Travel Law Quarterly and is joint author, with Stephen Mason, of the book Holiday Law.
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