Every captain needs a first mate. And at Virgin Voyages, the adults-only cruise line set to debut in 2020, its second-in-command will be none other than travel agents.
TORONTO — ACTA is weighing in on the currency surcharge controversy with an update to travel agents from ACTA President Wendy Paradis.
Agents have been reaching out to ACTA to share their feedback about Sunwing’s recent $20 currency surcharge, says Paradis.
Currency surcharges are nothing new and aren’t limited to one tour operator, as Paradis points out.
This new surcharge was introduced by Sunwing on June 21 for departures Aug. 1 and beyond.
Paradis says ACTA “strongly believes that only real taxes belong in the tax field and all other ‘service fees and surcharges’ are a cost of the product and belong in the base fare.”
Travel agencies in the province of Quebec were most vocal expressing how unhappy they were about yet another non-commissionable fee by taking to social media to express their disappointment, she noted.
Sunwing says: “As a tour operator, most of the products and services that we contract are based on U.S. dollars. Unfortunately, the current unfavourable exchange rate against the U.S. dollar has necessitated us to impose a temporary currency surcharge. The $20 per person surcharge applies to new bookings only for departure dates from August 1st onwards. The surcharge was introduced on June 21st; existing bookings made prior to this date are unaffected. We will continue to carefully monitor the situation until such time that this surcharge can be removed.”
The issue of non-commissionable fees, a hot button topic in the cruise industry in particular, is a global issue, says Paradis, and ACTA “has been pushing for change about this problem for some time.”
Paradis says ACTA has and will continue to raise this matter globally through the World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA) and push for change not only in Canada, but worldwide, and tells agents ACTA will provide updates on its progress.
“There is a huge level of strain being put on vacation packages both from the Canadian dollar being so low but also due to the continuously rising fuel costs,” says ACV’s Managing Director, Nino Montagnese. However Air Canada Vacations as well as Tranast and also TravelBrands say they have no current plans to implement a currency surcharge.