TORONTO — Though Sandals Resorts International didn’t invent the all-inclusive concept with its first resort in Jamaica back in 1981, it is largely credited with perfecting it. Since the debut of ...
UPDATED: TICO has issued a follow up Registrar Bulletin with additional information about burden relief for TICO registrants and guidance on the use of vouchers, including a FAQ. Click here for more details.
TORONTO — With an eye to reducing the burden on Ontario’s registered travel agencies and tour operators – and providing clarity on vouchers vs. refunds disputes – the Ontario government has announced a number of regulatory amendments to the Travel Industry Act, 2002.
As outlined in a Regulatory Bulletin issued to registrants by TICO, the amendments also aim to boost consumer protection for travellers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
The updates include a time-limited exemption, specially created for the coronavirus outbreak, that would allow registrants to choose to provide only a voucher in cases where a supplier failed to provide travel services.
Also new, eligibility for Comp Fund reimbursements will be expanded to cover consumers with vouchers who do not receive their travel services, potentially due to the failure of a registrant.
While the majority of consumers have accepted the offer of vouchers or travel credits for their cancelled flights, packages or trips – understanding that the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions are beyond the control of travel retailers and suppliers – a small but vocal minority of consumers have been demanding refunds.
Many of these consumers have expressed concerns that the vouchers could be worthless in the case of a supplier failure amid the coronavirus fallout. A proposed class action lawsuit is in the works. Meanwhile, if suppliers and retailers are on the hook for refunds, an entire industry is in jeopardy.
Retailers and suppliers can click here to find the regulatory changes on the e-laws website.
The changes announced by the Ontario government include:
TICO says: “We understand that you may have questions relating to the amendments. TICO will be providing additional details shortly and will continue to support consumers and registrants impacted by the crisis. Please check back often as we will be posting updates as they become available.”