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The Lithuanian government decided on Wednesday to change the maximum refund period for cancelled trips back to 14 days, from 90 days allowed by the parliament earlier this year due to the coronavirus crisis.
Cabinet approves 14-day refund period for cancelled travel
© Asmeninis albumas

However, tour organizers will continue to be able to offer travel vouchers, to be used within 12 months, as a refund option, according to the draft amendment that will now go to the Seimas for approval.

The move is aimed at bringing national legislation in line with the EU's Package Travel Directive and follows the European Commission's decision to launch infringement proceeding against Lithuania.

If approved, the draft amendment to the Civil Code "will eliminate the non-compliance with the directive (and) prevent possible proceedings before the European Court of Justice," the bill's explanatory note reads.

It will ensure travelers’ right to be reimbursed for cancelled trips within 14 days, the period set by the directive, according to the note.

Zydre Gaveliene, the president of Lithuania's National Tourism Business Association, has warned that Lithuanian tour organizers would not be able to refund travelers for cancelled trips within 14 days.

Lithuanian companies do not have the money to refund customers within 14 days, because foreign partners do not return the funds and it is too complicated to make use of the government's assistance, according to Gaveliene.

"If the decision were adopted today, this would be equivalent to saying that Lithuania does not need the tourism business," she told BNS.

The Economy and Innovation Ministry says Lithuania may face a fine if it fails to urgently amend its legislation to bring it in line with the EU directive.

In May, the Seimas amended the Civil Code to give travel agencies up to 90 days to pay refunds for trips cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

BNS
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