Package tour

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Travel confirmation by TUI (1978)

In travel law, the package tour is a trip in which the traveler books a total of at least two different types of travel services for the purpose of the same trip with the tour operator or travel agent. The opposite is the individual journey .


A package tour is also deemed to exist if the travel services included in the contract have been compiled at the request of the traveler or according to his selection or if the tour operator grants the traveler the right in the travel contract to choose the travel services from his offer after the conclusion of the contract ("modular trip "). Travel services, in turn, are passenger transport , accommodation (except for residential purposes), car rental or any other tourist service ( e.g. excursions , sightseeing ). Day trips are not package tours ( Section 651a Paragraph 5 BGB ), nor are the associated travel services ( Section 651w Paragraph 1 BGB). A package tour is also not deemed to exist if a trip is concluded on the basis of a framework contract for the organization of business trips with a traveler who is an entrepreneur for his business purposes ( Section 651a (5) No. 3 BGB).


Rest on a package tour to Lake Constance (1955)

The first package tour was the train journey for 570 English workers from Leicester to Loughborough , organized by the Baptist preacher Thomas Cook on July 5, 1841 , in which the costs of travel and meals were included in a package price . By 1854 Cook expanded the travel business and made it his sole maintenance. Cook organized the first foreign package tour on May 17, 1861 for English workers by rail and ship to Paris . Cook's 7-day package tour consisted of prepaid coupons for travel, room and board. He propagated the railway travel for a variety of clients ( English "Railways for the Millions" ).

In Germany, package tours brokered by travel agencies came up around 1898: They advertised package tours “à la Cook” and were based on the British market leader . In 1907 there were already around 120 German travel agencies. However, their package tours could initially only be used by wealthy strata of the population. In 1962, Josef Neckermann expanded the range of products offered by his mail order company Neckermann Versand KG to include “Vacation trips for everyone”. For this project, he began offering air travel for the first time in 1963 in collaboration with the Swiss holiday company Hotelplan . The first travel catalog , a six-page brochure, appeared as a supplement to his mail-order catalog. “Neckermann offered package tours as cheaply as lamps or housewares up to then. 14 days Mallorca for 338 DM. Flight. Hotel. Full board. Everything included. "

Today's mass tourism could only be made possible by package tours, because tour operators were able to lower their travel prices thanks to the economies of scale ( law of mass production ) and their bargaining power , so that low-wage earners could also benefit from this form of travel. Large tour operators such as TUI AG , which has been active on the German travel market since October 1923, were founded for this purpose. In Germany in December 1978 a new travel law was created as a reaction to the constantly increasing package tourism , which the previously applicable regulations of the purchase contract law of the BGB were not up to.

In the German case law and in the literature , the concept of the tour operator contract was first used . The travel law of the BGB did not initially speak of the package tour, but only of the trip . This term described the operators Travel and arose from the fact that the Bundestag in December 1978 when it adopted the new rules on travel contract to a reduction of the wording previously used the operators Travel had tried.

A first legal definition for package tours in the sense of a European minimum harmonization was contained in Art. 2 Directive 90/314 / EEC of July 13, 1990:

"The pre-determined combination of at least two of the following services, which are sold or offered for sale for a total price, if this service lasts more than 24 hours or includes an overnight stay: transport , accommodation and other tourist services that are not ancillary services of transport or accommodation and make up a considerable part of the overall service. "

In its decision of April 30, 2002, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the individual compilation of several individual services by a travel agency at the request of the customer also fulfills the concept of a package tour. This judgment was based on the circumstances that Portuguese travel agencies have a different legal status and, in the specific case, the travel agency provided the services in its own name . So it depends on the occurrence of a travel agent, whether it as a tour operator or travel agent applies. The judgment therefore only had a limited impact on the German and Austrian legal situation.

Legal issues

The German travel law of §§ 651a ff. BGB is strongly influenced by the EU Package Travel Directive , which has been in force since July 1, 2018. The package tour is regulated in § 651a BGB, but the law still only speaks of the "trip". The travel catalog is legally - like all product catalogs - an invitation to submit an offer . Contractual partners are the traveler, tour operator or travel agent. A travel contract is only concluded when the traveler signs the pre-printed order ( offer ) and the tour operator accepts it with the travel confirmation .

The travel contract is a work contract , so that the tour operator owes the success of the trip . In particular, the tour operator has the traveler according to § 651i the package free of para. 1 BGB travel flaws to gain, so they must have the agreed quality. It is characteristic that the tour operator is the sole contractual partner of the traveler and not every service provider of individual travel services (such as airline , hotel , rental car ). These are legally the vicarious agents of the tour operator according to § 278 BGB. The tour operator must allow the mistakes of his vicarious agents to be credited. According to § 651y sentence 1 BGB, the tour operator may neither suspend his obligation to carry out the trip free of defects nor contractually exclude or limit the liability consequences from § § 651i ff. BGB. Variants of a package tour are the agreement of full board , half board or all inclusive services with regard to accommodation and meals .

If a package tour falls under this definition, travel law applies in Germany, which supersedes the service , work and rental contract regulations applicable to individual travel . Relevant legal sources for this are §§ 651a ff. BGB as well as the "Ordinance on the information obligations of tour operators of 14 November 1994". According to this, a package travel contract obliges the tour operator to provide all of the promised travel services for the traveler. In return, § 651a BGB obliges the traveler to pay the tour operator the agreed travel price.

In the case of package tours, the traveler pays a uniform travel price that includes all travel services agreed in the travel contract. The tour operator may only request an advance payment or down payment on the travel price ( Section 651t BGB) if a travel security certificate ( advance payment guarantee ) is presented by credit institutes or insurers ( Section 651r (2) BGB). A special case of the package tour is the “modular trip”, in which individual components from a given catalog are individually combined. If this combination takes place in real time, one speaks of "dynamic packaging". Legally, the modular trip is to be equated with the package tour.

A special feature of the special regulation of package tours is the more comprehensive consumer protection . In the event of a defect, the package traveler has only one contact person (namely the tour operator). Furthermore, in addition to a separate claim for damages and a right of termination in the event of travel defects, he has the right to reduce the travel price ( § 651m BGB). In the case of package tours, there are indications of what travel deficiencies exist and the amount by which the travel price may be reduced from overviews such as the Frankfurt table or the Kempten travel deficiency table . However, these overviews are only guidelines and do not bind the courts. In the event of defects relating to air transport , tour operators sometimes point out in individual cases or in their terms and conditions that any claims for compensation with regard to passenger rights should be addressed directly to the respective airline .

economic aspects

The market shares of package tours in the entire German travel market have shown a downward trend in favor of individual travel since 2005 . While package tours had a market share of 44% of all trips over 5 days in 2005, the share of this market segment was only 39% in 2015.

The package tour is a form of travel in which the traveler leaves the organization of the trip to a tour operator. As a rule - with the same travel services, the same travel duration and the same destination - the individual trip is cheaper than the package tour. The individual tourist saves the tour operator's profit margin and the guarantee commission for the travel security certificate . Only in mass tourism (e.g. to Mallorca ) can this advantage be overcompensated by the lower hotel prices possible for the tour operator ( bargaining power ). Depending on the destination and travel time , price advantages can therefore be achieved for both individual and package tours.

Add-on trip

An add-on trip is a special type of package tour that is put together as a round trip by a certain primary tour operator (partner agency) , but is also offered as an intermediary by other, secondary travel agencies (partners). Participants can find out about secondary travel organizations zubuchen . Often it is a primary tour operator in a distant country who organizes and guarantees the local services including tour guides on site. In many cases, travel to and from the distant country is not included in the package because the participants come from different countries. The same package tour is often offered in three variants:

  • Private trip with two participants
  • Add-on trip with at least two participants
  • Travel with at least a small group of z. B. 10 participants.

The only difference between the three variants is the pricing and the means of transport used. The local tour guide on the entire tour is identical. The advantages of additional trips are that these trips can be carried out on the dates provided if there are only two participants, and the price is between that of a private trip and that of a group trip.


Like Germany, Austria implemented the EU Package Travel Directive on July 1, 2018, but through the independent Package Travel Act (PRG). The tour operator has a comprehensive pre-contractual information obligation (§ 4 PRG), the traveler can withdraw at any time before the start of the trip, in the event of force majeure also without compensation (§ 10 PRG). If the minimum number of participants is not reached, the tour operator can withdraw without compensation, but must reimburse the travel price paid (Section 10 (3) PRG). The traveler must immediately notify the tour operator of any lack of conformity during the trip (Section 11 (2) PRG). Travel services that have not been provided or are inadequately provided must be remedied by the tour operator (Section 11 (3) PRG), unless this is impossible or would entail disproportionate costs, taking into account the extent of the lack of conformity and the value of the travel service concerned. If he does not remedy the situation, the traveler can remedy the situation himself (Section 11 (4) PRG).

A travel contract in Switzerland can be either a travel agency contract or a travel agency contract. The latter can be designed either as an Innominat contract or as a package tour contract. The package travel contract is a nomination contract , which is regulated outside of the Code of Obligations in the Federal Act on Package Travel of June 18, 1993 (PRG). It imposes comprehensive information obligations on the tour operator (Art. 4, 5 PRG), prescribes the content of the travel contract in a binding manner in Art. 6 PRG, deals with significant changes to the contract (including price increases of more than 10%; Art. 8 PRG) or regulates the rights of the traveler who is referred to as the consumer (Art. 10 PRG). In the event that the minimum number of participants is not reached and in the event of force majeure, the consumer is not entitled to compensation for non-performance (Art. 11, Paragraph 2 PRG). Defects in the trip must be reported immediately (Art. 12 PRG), the organizer is liable for the proper performance of the contract (Art. 14 PRG), except in the event of force majeure (Art. 15 PRG).

In common law the package is ( English package tour ) by Regulation 4 of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 (PTR) regulated. After that, the information in the brochure are in accordance with Reg. 6 (1) PTR for implied (warranty English implied warranties ) of the travel contract, which gives the consumer (a procedure for misstatement English misrepresentation ) or Failure ( English breach of contract allows). Another liability of the tour operator arises also from the Code of Conduct ( English code of conduct ) that the association of British tour operators ABTA has negotiated.


Web links

Wiktionary: Package tour  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. , accessed May 13, 2016
  2. 147 years ago today… in Märkische Oderzeitung, Frankfurter Stadtbote 17./18. May 2008, p. 1
  3. Patrick Robertson, What was the first time and when? , 1977, p. 173 f.
  4. Wolfgang König, Geschichte der Konsumgesellschaft , 2000, p. 280
  5. Wolfgang König, Geschichte der Konsumgesellschaft , 2000, p. 280
  6. Two weeks in Mallorca for 338 DM - 50 years ago Neckermann discovered the package tour,
  7. BT-Drs. 8/2343 of December 4, 1978, draft of a law on tour operator contracts , p. 7
  8. ECJ, judgment of April 30, 2002, Az .: Case C-400/00 ( Club Tour / Gonçalves Garrido )
  9. Dr. Th. Gabler Verlag, Gablers Wirtschaftslexikon , Volume 4, 1984, Sp. 806
  10. Federal Law Gazette Part I, 1994, p. 3436
  11. ^ Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon online , accessed on January 30, 2012
  12. cf. Travel and business conditions. (No longer available online.) Schauinsland-Reisen , June 2013, archived from the original on August 10, 2013 ; accessed on August 10, 2013 (see point 9d there). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. FUR Research Community Vacation and Travel eV, Reiseanalyse 2016 , p. 5
  14. Harald Bartl, Travel and Leisure Law , 1985, p. 22
  15. Wolfgang Fuchs / Jörn W. Mundt / Hans-Dieter Zollondz (eds.), Lexikon Tourismus , 2008, p. 374
  16. What does additional travel mean ?, accessed on June 26, 2020
  17. ^ Andreas Börger, Sanctions for the violation of pre-contractual information obligations , 2010, p. 139