The National Guarantee Fund acts through a Management Committee entrusted with decision-making, action and control.
Chaired by the Director General for Tourism, composed of members from MAECI, MISE, MEF and the Directorate General for Tourism (D. M. 05/01/2018 n. 3), the Committee is regulated under art.51 of the State Regulation Code on Tourism, as approved of in art.1 of Legislative Decree 79, May 23, 2011 and amended in art. 9, Law 115, July 29, 2015, “Provisions for the fulfilment of obligations from Italy’s membership in E. U. – 2014 European Law”.
Particularly, it deals with:
- Allowing package travel cost refunding in case of the manager’s or the intermediator’s bankruptcy or insolvency:
- Allowing the tourist’s repatriation when abroad, in case as above;
- Providing immediate available funds, in emergencies more or less organizer’s fault, forcing the tourist’s return from non EU Countries. In extraordinary events, due to earthquakes, floods or insurgencies, it hangs on The Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to art.34, Code on Tourism, a package tour so peculiarly featured and defined by law itself, has to:
- Be sold and/or offered for sale at an inclusive price;
- Last over 24 hours, that is, it must cover at least one night.
Further, it must meet at least two of the following needs:
- Tourist services not ancillary to transport or accommodation, under art.36, Code on Tourism, as even economically relevant in the package tour, as planned routes, guided tours or excursions with couriers or tour guides and so on.
The Fund can work
It can invoke the Fund whenever a package tour, bought on National territory by an organizer or broker, legally operating under prevailing National and Regional legislation, is either just partially used or not at all, for failure or insolvency of the seller.
The Fund cannot work
- In case of refund application for contracts not falling under the category of “package tour” (purchasing of free points, just flights, timeshares and so on);
- Compensation claims for ruined vacation, any other monetary/non-monetary damages or legal fees, even with the organizer or broker condemned by a final judgement, meanwhile insolvent or gone bankrupt;
- Breach of contract by the organizer or the broker (different hotel accommodation from what agreed on, low service quality supply, and so on);
- Lack of connections between the seller’s insolvency or bankruptcy and the partial or failed enjoyment of the package tour;
- Request submitted after involving other tools of legal interest concern, as suggesting bankruptcy or civil suit, according to the obligation of selecting an option among remedies.
In order to keep entitled to refund, the applications for it to get on package tour sales contracts concluded within December 31, 2015 must be filed with within three months from the date the travel ended or ought to have ended. They are working within the National Guarantee Fund’s budget set down in art.51 of the Code, referred to in Legislative Decree 79/2011 and its later amendments, the clearing of which the competent authority never fails to grant.
No compensation through the Fund is due to claims on package tour contracts drawn up later than December 31, 2015. In this respect, it is worth noting that since July 1st, 2016, a private management guarantee system, pursuant to art.9, Law 115, July 29, 2015, has been working.
Every application for refunding has to refer to one single package tour purchasing contract (it rejects an application for more than one contract, though concerning similar or identic package tours).
In the case of the same agreement concluded by more than one buyer, it may submit just one cumulative application undersigned by every person concerned, or formally delegate one to act for and on behalf of all or just a part of the buyers of the same.
The refund application, filled in according to the form, must be sent by registered post with recorded delivery (Raccomandata A/R), or e-mailed to the addresses in the application form.
Changes since July 2016
Since July 1st 2016 a private management guarantee system, introduced by art.9, Law 115, July 29, 2015, has been working. The same Law repealed The National Guarantee Fund, still working as clearing the applications already allowed repayment by the Committee, as well as the claims on contracts concluded within December 31, 2015.
The legislation on private management guarantee (introduced by art.9, Law 115, July 29, 2015) compels the tour operators organizing package tours and the travel agencies brokering to take out insurance policies or supply bank guarantees to cover package tourism contracts. Refund of the paid for the package granted in case of insolvency or bankruptcy of the organizer and the tourist’s repatriation as well, on travel abroad or within one single Country.
The new assurance system provides for an obligation to back the contracts with insurance policy or bank guarantee.
The operators in the field may gather in consortia or other kinds of associations, fit for enforcing the provisions, the way suiting enterprises the best, even resorting to mutual societies.
They are all private means, as such regulated by legislation on insurance policy (Legislative Decree n. 209, September 7, 2005, Code of private insurance – D. lgs. 209/2005, Codice di assicurazioni private) and of Bank Guarantee (Civil Code and Legislative Decree n. 385, September 1st, 1993, Consolidated text of the laws on banking and loaning).
- As regards paperwork, already approved of by the Committee, the applications received will be cleared, according to available cash, in strict chronological order.
- In order to go on effectively, it will be necessary for paperwork to be integrated with the documents required, in compliance with supervisory bodies’ provisions.
- In the run-up to the clearance procedure, this Office will get in touch with every applicant, for any up-dating or further item to supply.
- This Office will care for the Website’s attentive up dating.