WINNIPEG — Most industries don’t want government regulation but the Manitoba travel industry has been lobbying the Manitoba government for more than four years to start regulating travel agents and agencies and provide better protection for consumers.
ACTA Manitoba has been leading the way maintaining that the travel industry would be strengthened and consumers’ interests would be better served through a form of industry regulation in Manitoba.
“In its current state, the travel industry is completely unregulated, and consumers are always at risk if a tour operator, airline or travel agency were to go under,” said Philip Houde, owner and general manager of River East Travel & Cruise Centre and a past vice-chairman of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA).
In May 2010 the Province of Manitoba tabled its ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ consumer protection strategy and travel was one of the industries to be targeted. At the time this strategy was tabled ACTA expressed support for the initiative and struck a working committee to ensure that our members’ interests were represented.
In June 2011 the Province of Manitoba Public Consultation Paper referred to the introduction of new measures that would ultimately lead to the regulation of travel agents/agencies to ensure that professional standards were being met to protect the consumers in the event of a supplier going out of business as well as integrity and accuracy in all travel advertisements.
With new measures in sight significant progress was made through 2011-12 and the expectation was that the legislation would be tabled in spring 2012. This did not happen and adversely in 2013, government opted to pursue consumer protection in other industries that were deemed to be of greater priority.
By this time there was the third new Minister of Consumer Affairs in four years and for this reason in April 2014, ACTA resubmitted its position and asked if it was still the intent for government to carry through with the strategy that had been tabled in 2010. To date, the changes in the travel industry contemplated in the Province’s 2010 five-year consumer protection strategy have not materialized.
“On behalf of the ACTA MB Council, our appreciation is extended to the working committee members who volunteered their time over the past four years for the betterment of our industry – thank you to Phil Houde, Max Johnson and Daryl Silver,” said the organization in a statement. The ACTA Manitoba Council will be reviewing the matter at its Oct. 8 meeting.