Are you planning a vacation in Italy and thinking of attending a one week cooking course and wine tour, bike tour, yoga retreat, walking tour or any other type of one week vacation?

This is fantastic, but it is extremely important you choose well the company or website where you buy this one week experience from.

From the feedback we receive, I see that people who attend our one week culinary and wine tours appreciate the fact that we provide authentic and first class experiences and that I am a 100% Italian person, born and raised in Italy and with some professional and educational experience abroad.

Moreover, our guests seem to appreciate a lot the fact that we are a very professional company, as we are a tour operator, with a license and insurance.

This is extremely important. It does not matter whether you buy a vacation from an Italian or foreigner company. The most important thing is that you buy it from somebody who has experience and license to do so. It would be the same if you were buying a service from a lawyer or doctor!

By law only tour operators and travel agents, who have a license and insurance, can sell activities that last longer than 24 hours and that also includes accommodation, transfers, sightseeing. This is also known as “travel package”.

Subjects such as chefs, cooking schools, bike tour guides, yoga instructors, any type of guide, hotels, cannot sell travel packages unless they also have a license.  For example, while cooking schools can sell a single one day cooking class, they cannot sell a travel package that also includes transfers, market tours, sightseeing, excursions, accommodation at a specific villa or hotel (and this even if clients are asked to pay separately for the specific accommodation). Or, while travel service companies can sell one day bike tours, they cannot put together a travel package that also includes accommodations, transfers and other services.

Because it is very difficult to get this license, you may find lots of people who sell this type of tours or experiences without license.  This happens mainly online where there is less control. And the big risk for the customer is that you buy a vacation from companies who may be stopped by the local administration, once they are found out. And who knows if you ever see your money back.

Italian and international law is very strict and detailed in who can sell travel packges and how to do it. This law is meant to be in the interest of the customer and obliges tour operators or travel agents to have insurance. Customers who buy a vacation from people without license and insurance, have no protection.

Examples of vacations and tours that would require this license (and insurance) are:

a week at a villa that includes cooking classes, visits to markets, transfers and accommodation (this also if you are asked to pay separately for the accommodation);

a one week cooking course organized by a cooking school that also includes visits to markets, transfers, visits to wineries, sightseeing, accommodation (this also if you are asked to pay separately for the accommodation)

a yoga week that includes accommodation, meals, transfers;

a one week bike tour that includes a guide, meals, accommodation, transfers;

a one week walking tour that includes a guide, accommodation, transfers;

-any other type of vacation where you are asked to stay at a specific accommodation and that also includes transfers, meals or services provided by a guide or cooking/wine/yoga instructor.

 

This means that when you find an interesting website selling any type of vacation in Italy, the first thing you should do is to check whether this company has a tour operator or travel agent license and insurance (this is mandatory information that by law must be shown on the website). If they do not have a license, then you should only buy a single activity or one day service and look for a company who does have a license.

 

Are you a cooking school, a chef, a guide, hotel, bike tour company without license and wish to sell travel packages? Please contact us and in case your services meet our standards and criteria we will check whether your activities can be included in our tours and programs.

 

 

 

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