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Current Issues in Travel and Tourism Law

David Grant, Stephen Mason, Malcolm Khan and Rob Davis Introduction The travel industry is no stranger to the disruption caused by the turbulence, which is the theme of this book. In fact, by its very nature, the industry may be more susceptible than most. Which other industry transports millions of people halfway around the globe and deposits them in third world countries with imperfect infrastructures, unfamiliar cultures, fragile economies, dubious political regimes, extreme weather conditions and promises them paradise — all supplied by independent foreign contractors employing untrained temporary staff on poverty line wages?

The existence of the whole industry is a triumph of hope over experience and it is no surprise that occasionally that hope is misplaced. This chapter is concerned with the legal consequences of events — political, meteorological or medical — which may cause the best of travel arrangements to fail, often disastrously, sometimes fatally. Those events are hurricanes, food poisoning, DVT and terrorism. We shall examine each of them in turn.

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Hurricanes The names, Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne could not be more reassuring, rather like favourite Uncles and Aunts, but in truth these hurricanes were terrifying in their ferocity, striking the Caribbean and Florida in a period of just 6 weeks between 16 August and 26 September 2004. The destruction they wrought was of startling magnitude — buildings damaged, cars wrecked, boats blown aground, trailer parks destroyed, power lines brought down, roads swept away by floods and landslides, crops flattened, trees felled and over 100 people killed.

The damage caused to the tourism industry was equally destructive — theme parks and hotels closed, cruises re-routed, flights cancelled and holidays ruined. But what of the holidaymakers’ rights in these circumstances? Do they have to stand the loss or are they entitled to refunds or even compensation? It is beyond the scope of this short section to provide

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