TORONTO — ACTA has issued a statement to clarify its new partnership with luxury retail network Virtuoso.
ACTA President Wendy Paradis issued the statement this morning following reports earlier this week that Virtuoso had signed an exclusive partnership with the organization.
Virtuoso sent out a release on April 3 announcing that it had signed on as ACTA’s first exclusive consortium partner.
As part of the agreement, Virtuoso’s 185 Canadian travel agency locations will receive an annual 30% rebate on their ACTA membership, up to $750.
ACTA will also provide Virtuoso members with a 30% discount on the price of Certified Travel Counselor and Certified Travel Manager registration fees.
In her statement Paradis says: “A recent press release announcing a Consortia Partnership between Virtuoso and ACTA has been met with concern from some of our members and I would like to take a moment to clarify some points of confusion.
“First, 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.
“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.
“Working with our members and partners, ACTA provides important Education, Promotion and Networking opportunities to our Members to further your success.
“In 2018, we did an in depth survey with you, our members and our mandate from membership is clear. We ADVOCATE on behalf of our Travel Agency and Travel Agent members to government, travel suppliers and other key stakeholders. We EDUCATE and elevate Travel Agents with professional certification and education tools. We CONNECT our members to valuable tools and events that will help the be more successful. And we PROMOTE the tremendous value of the Travel Agent to consumers.
“Please know that as your trade association, the ACTA Team has and will continue to work on behalf of Members in the best interests of Travel Agencies and Travel agents across the country.”
As Paradis notes, the Virtuoso agreement doesn’t preclude other partnership agreements with other retail groups, but would they get the same perks?
And if other consortia feel compelled to sign on for ACTA partnerships as a result of the Virtuoso deal, does that create an upper tier of retail groups within an organization that has long been defined by its broad membership base, and its advocacy for all of its agency members?
Do we need a clarification for the clarification?