Frustration of package holiday contracts caused by COVID-19

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The aim of this paper is to demonstrate in which situation package holiday contracts for Chinese consumers travelling abroad could be frustrated due to COVID-19. Strict lockdown measure were imposed in China on 23 January 2020 and lasted for two months. During that time Chinese tourists were unable to travel abroad to on pre-booked foreign holiday in Europe. However, the pandemic had not yet arrived in other countries during the early part of the China lockdown period because other countries around the world only started to restrict visitors coming from China since February 2020 (e.g., UK/France – 6 February). Accordingly, arguments on whether package holiday contracts should be regarded as having been "frustrated" due to Chinese consumers inability to travel, while the country of holiday destination still remained "open for business" at the relevant time, raises interesting questions of contract law, i.e., regarding whether such consumers should be entitled to receive full refunds under the doctrine of contract frustration (due to unforseen external events e.g., COVID-19), or not.

This proposed paper shall examine the conflict of legal opinions following the COVID-19 outbreak timeline: first, it shall examine the degree of impossibility of performance when China was the only lockdown country (January and early February 2020), and consider to what extent did the China lockdown policy affect cross-border tourism contracts. Second, the paper shall focus on the period when China lifts its lockdown measure (early April 2020) while many other countries globally remain in lockdown, and the paper shall evaluate the impossibility and illegality of contract performance. Within these two phases, the foreseeability of lockdown regarding package holiday bookings will be examined. Finally, the paper shall conclude by proposing suggestions regarding to what extent package holiday tourists from China should be reimbursed, or not.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2021
EventThe 15th Annual ECLS Conference - University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
Duration: 24 Sep 202126 Sep 2021


ConferenceThe 15th Annual ECLS Conference


  • package holiday contracts
  • COVID-19
  • contract law


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