ACTA Scheme to Insure Retailers Against Commission Losses
from Failed Travel Suppliers is Just Another ACTA Money Grab
Plans are Proof of ACTA's Inability to Affect Change
at Regulators Where ACTA Representation Predominates
Toronto, 17 January 2011: Canada's Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA Canada) blasted an emerging proposal by ACTA to sell insurance to travel retailers to cover their commission losses when travel suppliers fail. The proposal is yet another attempt by ACTA to provide a financial protection and guarantee program and to feather its own coffers for selling such products and services.
"It is hard to imagine that ACTA would seriously contemplate such a scheme when it has failed to exhaust other options. Instead of trying to extract money from travel agents through some form of protection plan, ACTA should devote its efforts to bring about regulatory changes at provincial authorities TICO, OPC, and CPBC to assure that retailers, regardless of location, would be made whole when provincially-governed travel wholesalers fail. While this would not cover every scenario, it would be enough to cover the majority of cases", said ARTA Canada President Bruce Bishins, CTC.
ARTA Canada was surprised to read ACTA's statement that "We [ACTA] don’t know of any existing way in which this commission loss can be prevented." With ACTA constantly touting that it is "the key agency representative at the table" with so many regulators and other commercial players, it is quite revealing that ACTA has been so ineffective in influencing provincial changes which could address the problem, particularly at TICO where ACTA members predominate the board, including three ACTA appointees.
In 2007, ACTA attempted to become a bonding agent for increased financial guarantees slated to be imposed by IATA on BSP Canada travel agencies. The bonding program was shelved by ACTA when it was proven that IATA had not followed proper protocols in changing the financial obligations of travel agents and that ACTA misinterpreted the same rules. In fact, it was further proven that agency defaults had actually decreased over the period in which both IATA and ACTA supported increased financial guarantees.
ACTA's survey on commission losses is flawed by not clarifying which travel suppliers would be included in protections provided to retailers and what type of commissions would be protected.
"ACTA really needs to devote its energies to changing provincial regulations. Travel retailers are the only party left with a loss of income when a wholesaler fails. Yet, even though other wholesalers which offer replacement services are fully compensated, including their profit margins, retailers do double the work with no compensation. That needs to change, and ARTA Canada will continue its efforts to bring about such reform", added Bishins.
About ARTA Canada
ARTA Canada is the largest non-profit federally incorporated professional association of travel retailers in Canada, the members of which consist exclusively of travel agencies and travel agents. In addition to advocating fair and equitable treatment of travel consumers, ARTA Canada represents the commercial and strategic interests of its member travel agencies and travel agents in a variety of national and provincial domains including regulatory and legislative matters, automation, technology, sales and marketing, and distribution.
ARTA Canada is the strategic partner in Canada of the U.S.-based Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA). ARTA Canada is the Canadian member of UFTAA, the United Federation of Travel Agents' Associations. For complete details about ARTA Canada's new $99 membership campaign or to join ARTA Canada, including secure payment on our web site, please visit www.artacanada.ca/join.