Wednesday,  September 18, 2019  2:06 pm

ACTA says no exclusivity in Virtuoso partnership


ACTA says no exclusivity in Virtuoso partnership
Blake Wolfe

Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.

The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) has provided further clarification regarding its recently-announced partnership with Virtuoso, stating that the agreement does not provide the consortium with any form of exclusivity, attributing such concerns “due to misinterpretation of parts of the press release.”

The second statement from ACTA President Wendy Paradis was sent out Friday afternoon, following a note distributed to ACTA members earlier that morning in the wake of concerns raised over the Virtuoso membership announcement.

READ MORE: ACTA responds to industry concerns over Virtuoso partnership

"Never any exclusivity"

The partnership announcement was originally sent to press under the title “Virtuoso becomes first exclusive consortium partner of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies,” raising concerns within the industry of whether the partnership would impact ACTA's ability to remain impartial in representing the interests of its overall membership.

In part, Paradis’ latest statement reads:

“While Virtuoso, along with many other groups in Canada, is a Consortium Member, there was never exclusivity meant by either party in the definition of this term. All consortia, agencies, and agents are eligible and supported to be members of ACTA no matter their affiliation.”

“In no way is this partnership setup to impede another travel agency organization or industry partners from working with ACTA creatively and innovatively to support its members and its mandate whether through its Member Program or its Partner Program, like Virtuoso has done.”

She added that “Virtuoso is the inaugural and only partner currently in the newly created Consortia Partner category.”

In the statement, Paradis also explained that the rebates offered to Virtuoso members through the partnership are “a strategic move funded by the Virtuoso group for their members, based off the existing successful partnership model between Virtuoso and ASTA in the USA.

These include an annual 30 per cent rebate for each of Virtuoso’s 185 Canadian travel agency locations on their ACTA membership (up to $750) as well as a 30 percent discount on the price of Certified Travel Counselor and Certified Travel Manager registration fees for Virtuoso members.

“As a Consortia Partner, similarly to ACTA’s existing Corporate Partners, Virtuoso invests its time and resources in order to support ACTA’s vision of a healthy and vibrant retail travel industry where the travel advisor is recognized as an expert resource,” Paradis said. “This allows the two organizations to work more closely to create innovative programming that supports a strong retail travel industry.”

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