TICO has issued a Registrar Bulletin reminding all Ontario registered travel retailers that the Ontario Travel Industry Compensation Fund coverage does not extend to bookings made with out-of-province tour operators or end suppliers other than airlines and cruise lines.
"Travel agents should be aware of the travel companies they are dealing with and should always check to see if the company they are making a booking with is registered in Ontario with TICO," says Michael Pepper, President of the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO). "Just because the flights originate out of Ontario, does not mean that the travel company you are dealing with is domiciled and registered in Ontario," says Pepper.
When consumers purchase travel services from Ontario travel agencies, they may be under the assumption that they are protected by Ontario's Travel Compensation Fund if anything goes wrong. However, it is important to note that the protection of Ontario's Compensation Fund does not extend to bookings made by Ontario registered travel agencies with out-of-province tour operators when the travel services are not received in the event the out-of-province tour operator ceases operations. Alternatively, if the consumer does not receive their travel services because the Ontario registered travel agency fails, the consumer would be protected by the Fund.
With this in mind, TICO is reminding registrants of their responsibility to disclose this information to consumers at the time of purchase. Section 36 of Ontario Regulation 26/05 requires that the travel agent disclose information to consumers which the travel agent has reason to believe may affect the customer's decision to purchase. "In TICO's view, the fact that Compensation Fund coverage does not extend to bookings made with out-of-province tour operators or end suppliers other than airlines and cruise lines could affect the customer's decision to purchase and therefore should be disclosed to the consumer prior to making a booking," says Pepper.
TICO would like to remind retail travel agents that if they are uncertain as to whether the travel company they are about to make a booking with is registered in Ontario, they can use the Search feature found on TICO's website at www.tico.caor contact TICO at 1-888-451-8426 or email: email@example.com verify that the company is a TICO registrant.