Coronadvice 1 – The one situation in which travel agencies must return money

Quarantine in Italy, quarantine in the Czech Republic after returning from Italy, coronavirus school holidays, ban on mass events - all these factors have had an impact on travel. Virus infections can certainly not be taken lightly, but at the same time it is necessary to order what the law actually requires from travel agencies during this coronavirus mess. When and what should the travel agency pay their customers? The answer to this question can be a challenge for lawyers. Not surprisingly, we are not equipped at this time to respond to all phone calls and emails coming our way. Therefore, we have decided that from today (11.03.2020) we will publish one “coronadvice” for travel agencies or tour operators every day until further notice except for weekends.

Coronadvice 1 aims to explain when a travel agency is required, without any doubt, to refund the money to a customer in the coronavirus-induced situation.

The Civil Code foresees, in the provisions of the package contract, that unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances may arise after the conclusion of the package contract. If these circumstances prevent the travel agency from performing the package purchased by the customer, the travel agency is entitled to cancel the tour. In such a case, it is also obliged to refund the price paid by the customer for the package tour. If a travel agency does not cancel the package, even though there are unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances which prevent it from providing the package, the Civil Code establishes the right of the customer to withdraw from the package without the obligation to pay a cancellation fee. In this case, the law explicitly states that two conditions must be simultaneously fulfilled. First, extraordinary and unavoidable circumstances must have occurred at the destination of the journey or stay, or in its immediate vicinity and; secondly, those circumstances have a significant impact on the provision of the package or the transport of people to the destination. We have written in detail about such extraordinary circumstances on our blog much before the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Only in situations where the extraordinary circumstances have occurred in the destination, and they are such that the package cannot be performed, we can advise definitively that the travel agency return the money. The situation foreseen by the law is now definitely fulfilled in the case of packages to Italy, which is in quarantine until 3 April. Therefore, packages to this destination are definitely not possible. The fact that the Czech Republic has decided to place all citizens returning from Italy to quarantine is important, but, in our opinion, not crucial to the obligations of travel agencies. It can be assumed that the situation in Italy will gradually spill over to other countries, as these countries gradually ban mass actions, cancel communications, ban the entry of citizens of some states, and take other serious measures that impact services and the free movement of persons.

The conditions for cancelling packages or free customer cancellation related to the coronavirus are thus clearly fulfilled for March packages to Italy. Travel agencies are obliged to return the paid package price to the customers without undue delay, and no later than 14 days from the date of cancellation of the package or the customer's withdrawal.


'No one has done as much for me as you,' Eva said.

Livingstone, Tour Operator

Thank you again for your valuable advice. I breathe better when I know who to turn to.

Jitka Popelková, Managing Director

Anders Thorsen Advokatanpartsselskab

It has been an absolute pleasure to work with you.

Anders Thorsen, Partner, Advocate

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