October 25, 2011

CARDIN, BIPARTISAN GROUP OF LAWMAKERS INTRODUCE “INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS BILL OF RIGHTS”

Legislation protects online consumers through improved hotel health and safety information

 

WASHINGTON – With more and more Americans booking travel online, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin has joined a group of bipartisan Senators and Congressmen in introducing the International Travelers Bill of Rights (ITBOR), S. 1753, a bill that helps consumers make informed decisions when booking travel online. 

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, more than 30 million Americans traveled overseas in 2009. Maryland accounts for nearly one million international visits. More than 40 percent of travelers use a personal computer to get information about their trip. 

“International travel should be an exciting adventure, not a health risk” said Senator Cardin. “I support this bipartisan legislation because Americans traveling abroad should be well informed and well educated about their destinations before leaving the United States.  The International Travelers Bill of Rights will help to protect American travelers, prevent tragic accidents and save lives.”

The bill requires travel website operators to inform travelers of the available onsite health and safety services when hotels are booked for abroad.  Any available information related to Department of State travel warnings, the availability of a nurse or physician on the premise, and the presence of a lifeguard on duty must be displayed by website operators. Additionally, the Department of State is required to update the record of Deaths of US Citizens Abroad by Non-Natural Causes more frequently and with more details.

The International Travelers Bill of Rights includes key provisions to ensure the travel industry is not burdened with impractical regulations so that online travel websites can continue to provide the services travelers rely on.  In addition, website operators will have one year to request and make available this information, and are protected from unfair lawsuits.

Other sponsors include:  U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Scott Brown (R-MA), and John Kerry (D-MA).  U.S. Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) have introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

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