The Association of Canadian of Travel Agencies (ACTA) is responding to industry concerns regarding this week's announcement of an exclusive consortium partnership with Virtuoso, specifically whether the partnership would impact ACTA's ability to remain impartial in representing the interests of its overall membership.
In a press release distributed this morning (April 5) following inquiries from PAX, ACTA President Wendy Paradis made the following statement:
"ACTA would like to clarify that we do not promote one travel agency organization over another and we do not have an exclusivity agreement with any one Travel Agency, Chain, Consortia or Host Agency that impedes other travel agency organizations from working with us in a similar capacity. It appears that some content in the Virtuoso press release may have been misinterpreted."
"ACTA is proud to work with all of Canada’s key Travel Agencies, Consortia and Host Agencies and we are very pleased that Virtuoso will also now be working alongside ACTA in Canada to assist us in continuing to build a strong retail travel industry."
According to ACTA, the partnership will provide benefits to Virtuoso’s 185 Canadian travel agency members – representing more than 2,200 agents – including 30 per cent rebates on ACTA memberships and Certified Travel Counselor and Certified Travel Manager registration fees.
The response came after industry members raised questions as to whether the Virtuoso partnership announcement, as described in the original press statement, represented a conflict of interest.
Greg Luciani, president and CEO of TravelOnly (a member of Ensemble), told PAX yesterday that upon seeing the initial partnership announcement, he thought he had read “a typo.”
Luciani said that while he understands ACTA’s need to increase membership, with ACTA representing 12,000 Canadian travel agents in total, the interests of the overall membership need to be better represented.
“We need a stronger retail collective to represent the people on the front line and to help enact legislation. Hopefully this will get everyone to take a closer look at how we can all move forward together.”
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