A licence is required in order to organise package tours and offer associated travel services. This licence is entered in the Gewerbeinformationssystem Austria (Austrian Business Licence Information System, GISA) and can be inspected free of charge by way of a GISA query.
Licensed travel agents need to obtain insolvency coverage to ensure that advance and partial payments, expenses for return transport and, if applicable, the cost of continuing the journey are reimbursed in the event of an insolvency.
Coverage under the Ordinance covering package tours (PRV)
Insolvency coverage is provided by:
- taking out insurance,
- furnishing a bank guarantee (see specimen of a bank guarantee) or
- a guarantee by a public corporation.
Moreover, a settlement agent is required, i.e. a service point located in Austria which is open round the clock and has the requisite staff, technicians and infrastructure to handle the damage and which is accessible to travellers to handle their claims and organise their return in the event of an insolvency.
The PRV offers the choice of limited and unlimited coverage.
This type offers minimum coverage of the sales achieved by the business from organising package tours and offering associated travel services.
Under Section 4 PRV the insured sum must be:
- € 13,000 or
- at least 18 percent of the sales in the calendar year or
- at least 50 percent of the sales in the best month (the month of a calendar year in which the highest sales were achieved).
The highest of these amounts applies.
If limited coverage is chosen, then the operator:
- needs to submit repeat notifications in regular intervals,
- must not take more than 20 percent of the tour price as a downpayment, not earlier than eleven months prior to the journey;
- must not take the remaining payments (more than 20 percent of the travel price) earlier than 20 days prior to the start of the journey.
If (for all journeys of the calendar year), payments of not more than 20 percent of the travel price are accepted prior to the end of the journey, insured sums are halved:
- from 18 percent to 9 percent of the sales in the calendar year;
- from 50 percent to 25 percent of the sales in the best month.
Use the calculator to find out the minimum coverage necessary for you based on your sales forecasts (only available in german).
If your future sales are better than forecast and you have taken out only the minimum coverage do not forget to increase the insured sum to avoid insufficient coverage which would be illegal.
Unlimited coverage comprises the entire sales achieved by the business from organising package tours and offering associated travel services.
- This type of coverage does not require repeat notification but only proof of extending the coverage if it is term-limited.
- There are no restrictions in accepting customer payments.
Division for Trade Law: firstname.lastname@example.org