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International Travelers Bill of Rights (S. 1753)

In October of 2011, the “International Travelers Bill of Rights” (“ITBOR”) was introduced before both the Senate and House of Representatives by a group of Republicans and Democrats. There have been multiple failed attempts to pass similar legislation in the past. See H.R. 3099 (2009); H.R. 1102 (2011).  The current bills are currently working their way through Congress.  We will monitor their status and keep this page updated.

What the Proposed Law Requires:
The International Travelers Bill of Rights will require all “website operators” that “provide access” to lodging at an “overseas vacation destination” to provide health and safety information about each advertised destination on the website, including:

  1. Department of State country-specific warnings; and
  2. Specific information about the resort/hotel/hostel, including whether:
  3. There is a doctor or nurse on duty;
  4. Someone is on duty that is trained in CPR;
  5. There is a defibrillator available and someone on duty trained to use it;
  6. There are CPR trained lifeguards if a pool is available;
  7. The hours the services above are available.

The proposed law requires website operators to make affirmative efforts to request this information from each resort/hotel/hostel advertised. If the required information is not available, the website operator must state, “This destination does not provide certain health and safety services, or information regarding such services is not available.”
ITBOR offers immunity to website operators for inaccurate/incomplete information if they received the inaccurate information from the resort/hotel/hostel and did not know it was inaccurate.

Who Is Covered:
The International Travelers Bill of Rights appears to apply to any website that provides access to international lodging. The broad scope of the law is likely intended to cover:

  1. Resort/hotel/hostel websites (it is currently unknown whether cruise ships are covered);
  2. Travel Agent websites;
  3. Meta-search engines like Kayak/Hipmunk that direct users to sites with the best deal;
  4. Coupon sites like Groupon/Bloomspot offering a lodging abroad.

Enforcement:
Violations of the International Travelers Bill of Rights will be investigated by the Federal Trade Commission, which has the power to:

  1. Issue a cease and desist order;
  2. Impose $10,000 per violation penalties (per day if the violation is knowing or intentional).


Contact:
We will continue to monitor the progress of the bill and update this page.  If you have any questions concerning the International Travelers Bill of Rights, please contact us.