The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies held its Annual General Meeting in Vancouver on Monday where ACTA President and COO David McCaig came out swinging against those suppliers whose actions jeopardize the viability of the agency segment of the travel industry.
McCaig said the shortchanging on agency commissions by suppliers, lack of fare transparency and the creation of non-commissionable fees by tour companies, airlines, cruise lines and other suppliers are public enemies one, two and three on ACTA’s list while the use of special promotional incentives follows as enemy number four, all to be attacked during 2010.
Mr. McCaig said ACTA’s roadmap is now clear to members. The association has spoken to suppliers as equals asking them what charges, surcharges, taxes and other amounts they were moving into their tax column. As a result, all tour operators and wholesalers have promised full transparency and some are paying full commissions on all-in pricing. While these are “clear victories,” said McCaig, the fight will continue through this year.
He said, “ACTA will not hesitate to use our size, as the largest association in the travel industry, our clout as the voice of members who sell billions of dollars worth of travel each year and our hard-won position as a leader in this industry,” to resolve issues in favour of members and to “defend and protect consumers as well as our members.”
During the board meeting, Jacqueline Jamieson was re-appointed as Chair for one year while Ellen Tucker was elected Vice-Chair, Rick Yearwood Treasurer and Colin Bartley as Secretary.
Phillip Houde is leaving the board and was thanked for his contributions. Before taking his leave, Mr. Houde told the board ACTA has been invited to the table in July on a committee appointed by the Government of Manitoba to move to the next stage in that government’s plans to apply more consumer protection to a number of areas including travel. ACTA has been asking the government in the province to add more protection for consumers after the bankruptcy of a travel supplier in Winnipeg left travellers stranded around the world. The government earlier this year said it would adopt protection measures for a list of services.
Bill Maguire was present at the Annual General Meeting to present the Maguire Wamsley Award to Sharon Stines CTM. Ms. Stines works for AIR MILES Reward Program and won the award for earning 99% on her CITC Management Work Paper while working at an ACTA member agency. The award was created in 1995 in honour of the daughter of Bill and Doris Maguire, Bonita Maguire-Wamsley, who passed away in March 1994 of cancer at the age of 45 after working for a relatively short time in the travel industry.
Sharon Stines has more than 20 years of experience in customer care centre operations and serves as Associate Director in the AIR MILES Reward Program.