TORONTO — The news reports coming in from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are heartbreaking, and the images even more so.
MONTREAL — Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady will set sail April 1, 2020 with a Quebec-born captain but so far at least Quebec agents can’t book clients on to the ship.
In a story covered by ProfessionVoyages.com, part of the Travelweek Group, all Quebec agent accounts on Virgin Voyages’ travel agent portal, FirstMates.com, had to be de-activated.
Travel agent Larissa Lognay, with Passion Voyage in Montreal, received this message from Virgin Voyages:
“Unfortunately, I am writing to advise that at this time, Virgin Voyages is unable to do business in Quebec – therefore, your First Mate and Agency Account will be made inactive.
“As a French speaking province, there are certain commercial requirements for companies wishing to sell or market a product to meet if they wish to do business in Quebec. At this early stage of our business, we are not equipped to meet those requirements. Our website and all of our materials are in English only and as such, we are focused on selling and marketing proactively in the US, UK and other Canadian provinces for now. We don’t have any idea at this stage when or if this will change. Travel Advisors who work for agencies located outside of Quebec can register to do business with us at FirstMates.com.”
Virgin Voyages hasn’t closed all the doors on possible business with Quebec in the future, saying that the deactivation of the accounts was a necessary step until a solution can be found.
Last June, Stacy Shaw, Vice President of Sales and Business Development at Virgin Voyages, had this to say: “At the moment, we are focusing on collaboration with partners. We just opened our doors in February, so of course we still have a lot of work to do to launch the activity in our main markets, which of course include Canada and Quebec. We obviously view Canada and Quebec as extremely important markets for us, but we currently have no opportunity to sell or market our products in languages other than English at this stage of our business. So, for the moment, we can be more efficient in trying to stimulate business in other Canadian provinces, but we are certainly looking for growth opportunities in Quebec in the future,” said Shaw.
When the Scarlet Lady launches on April 1, 2020, Captain Wendy Williams, a Quebecker born in Sept-Îles, will be at the helm.