TORONTO — The industry has known about this deadline for months and now consumers do too: starting Jan. 1, 2017 travel ads in Ontario will have to include all taxes and fees, under new rules that the provincial government says are meant to protect consumers.
The province says the rules, which take effect Jan. 1, will help reduce confusion and prevent surprises for travellers, as well as ensure a level playing field for the travel industry. The new regulations apply to any ads made by a registered travel agent or wholesaler that refer to the price of travel services.
“People across Ontario can now research and buy their vacations and business travel with confidence and without surprises – the price advertised will now be the price paid,” Marie-France Lalonde, Ontario’s minister of government and consumer services, said in a statement.
The change was also hailed by TICO, which said all-in pricing “provides consistent guidelines for the travel industry when advertising and promoting the price of travel services.”
Many major tours operators and retailers have been advertising all-in pricing for years. “Air Canada Vacations is already in compliance with the all-in-pricing requirement set out by TICO,” said Nino Montagnese, Managing Director, Sun Markets for ACV. “All of our vacations packages, hotel prices, flights and tours in all promotional formats – whether online or print – include transparent pricing and clearly outline all of the fees, services charges and taxes that consumers can expect to pay when booking our products. We want to make our travel partners’ and consumers’ booking process as seamless as possible.”
Other tour operators are ready to comply. “As per recent legislation issued by the Province of Ontario, we can confirm that all our pricing will be displayed as ‘all in’ pricing from Jan. 1, 2017,” said Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations, Sunwing Vacations. “Customers will be able to browse our selection of vacation packages with ease, and with the understanding that all taxes, surcharges and fees are already represented in the price quoted.”
Dawson said travellers should be “diligent when comparing prices as many online travel agents and hoteliers not covered by the legislation are likely to continue to show prices without taxes and fees included.”
Flight Centre spokeswoman Allison Wallace said full transparency in pricing “will reduce confusion while at the same time encourage fair competition from sun wholesalers and retailers so this is very good news for both the consumer and the travel industry.”