The Ontario government is proposing to extend the “all-in pricing” rule to cover travel agents and wholesalers located outside of Ontario who target their advertising of travel services to Ontarians. Since January 1, 2017, travel agents and wholesalers located in Ontario who are subject to the Travel Industry Act, 2002 must advertise all-in pricing.
However, the 2017 all-in pricing rule has major gaps because it only applies to wholesalers and travel agents who are located in or have employees in Ontario. As a result of the shift in consumer purchasing habits in the travel industry, the vast majority of travel bookings are now online either directly with the travel service provider or through online wholesalers. Drawing on an Ipsos survey, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services estimates that 44% of consumers book directly with the travel service provider (airline or hotel) and 27% book using online travel sites. Only 14% book using a store front travel agency.
The proposal is part of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services consultation on updating travel industry regulations in Ontario. The Ministry is also proposing to grant the Travel Industry Council of Ontario new enforcement tools, including the ability to issue administrative penalties to those who contravene these requirements.
Comments on the Ministry’s Phase 2 report are due July 24, 2017.
For a copy of the Phase 2 report and to learn more, visit the Ministry website here.