Printer-friendly version   

 

 


  INFORMATION BULLETIN 

For Immediate Release

2008PSSG0066-001845

Dec. 6, 2008

Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General

 

CHANGES CUT RED TAPE FOR TRAVEL AGENTS, PROTECT CLIENTS

 


VICTORIA – Updated travel industry regulations, approved this week and effective April 1, 2009, will better protect travellers’ interests while cutting the regulatory burden for travel retailers and wholesalers.

 

The new regulations, which follow extensive consultation with B.C.’s travel industry and other stakeholders:

 

  • Clarify who must be licensed. Operators of hotels, motels and resorts still don’t need a licence to book accommodation they manage, or to book local travel services. Similarly, destination marketing organizations that incidentally book travel services remain exempt.
  • Remove the requirement for licensing applicants to be B.C. residents. This change will align B.C.’s regulations with trade and labour mobility agreements in Canada.
  • Allow travel businesses to operate out of residences, where local government allows. This change may help small businesses and others to save money by foregoing a commercial location.
  • Eliminate a net-worth requirement, which was $15,000 for a corporation. Instead, companies will be required to maintain sufficient working capital to retain their licence.
  • Free travel retailers from maintaining a trust account for cash payments, since most consumers now pay by credit card. (Travel wholesalers will continue to maintain trust accounts, as they handle large volumes of consumer payments.)
  • Require travel retailers to display their licence number in all advertising, including on the Internet. This will enable consumers to search the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority (BPCPA) website to see if a business is licensed or facing enforcement action.
  • Require a minimum $100 annual contribution to the Travel Assurance Fund from newly licensed travel retailers and wholesalers. This will cover processing costs and help preserve the fund, which provides compensation of up to $5,000 to consumers who do not receive the travel services they’ve paid for and aren’t compensated by other sources.

 

B.C. has approximately 700 travel agents and 300 travel wholesalers. Travel agents and wholesalers have been licensed since 1977. The industry has since evolved to include new sectors and Internet business.

 

Those interested in more information about the new regulations are invited to contact the BPCPA Inquiry Centre at info@bpcpa.ca or by calling 604 320-1667 in Vancouver or toll-free 1-888-564-9963 from anywhere in the province.

-30-


  

Media

contact:

Cindy Rose

Public Affairs Bureau

250 356-6961

Sarah Head

BPCPA Communications

604 320-1667, ext. 2802

 

For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at www.gov.bc.ca.