Travel Industry Leader Says Hotels Should Apologize

    TORONTO, April 22 /CNW/ - In an exclusive interview with,
Canada's leading source of insider information on the business of travel,
industry leader Richard Vanderlubbe of says the actions of
Mexican and Caribbean hoteliers in the wake of the failure of Conquest
Vacations were 'disgraceful' and can't be allowed to happen again.
    Vanderlubbe is a former chair of the Alliance of Canada Travel
Associations (ACTA) and former chair of the board of the Travel Industry
Council of Ontario (TICO). He told's Suzanne Christie: "In my 20
years in the business I've never seen hotels grabbing money from consumers in
destination, threatening them, intimidating them. As an industry I think it's
disgraceful that our hotel partners did this."
    While acknowledging that Conquest was behind in its payments to some
hotels, Vanderlubbe says insisting on payment from Canadians who had already
paid for their vacation in good faith was a short-term approach by hoteliers
that could have long-term ramifications in the public's perception of the
industry. "We have to put pressure on these hotel partners to make right, to
apologize, to fix these problems. We have to use our commercial pressure to do
that. They need to fix this wrong first before we go on and continue to do
    Vanderlubbe expressed strong support for Ontario industry watchdog TICO,
which has come under criticism for not sounding warning bells quickly enough
in the Conquest situation. "When a tour operator goes down it's an unfortunate
thing and a lot of questions come out. Our own customers are asking us as
agents: Did you know? Should you have known? The fact is, the moment a warning
comes out about any airline or tour operator or travel company people lose
confidence and stop booking. A warning is like closing them down."
    The travel industry veteran says calls for the resignation of TICO CEO
Michael Pepper are completely unfounded. "If you look at the cost of TICO,
it's very efficient, it's well done. We have the best travel industry
regulation in the world here in Ontario."
    Vanderlubbe is calling for a summit of industry stakeholders including
ACTA (Association of Canadian Travel Agencies), CATO (Canadian Association of
Tour Operators), TICO (Travel Industry Council of Ontario) and relevant
tourist boards to discuss this problem and plan for the future. "It's no good
for anyone to have a Canadian consumer down in destination being intimidated
and threatened for money. It is so bad for our entire industry. We can't have
gaps in the protection." is the first consumer travel site to deliver the real deal:
unbiased travel content. The site provides travel intelligence in the form of
daily news, insider commentary, tips and videos with advice from travel
industry experts. Sister site is the mouthpiece of the Canadian
travel industry.

    Webcast Inteview on

For further information:

For further information: or for an interview please contact Suzanne
Christie,, (416) 926-8092

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