OSSN will be among the trade
groups represented at a sitdown session with the sponsor of a
bonding bill in Pennsylvania on Nov. 9. The bill, as originally
written, would impose strict bonding regulations on nearly all
agencies, including home-based ones. The groups, which have a
history of opposing state regulations of travel sellers, said they
are urging an alternative approach, public-private partnership to
create a statewide consumer education program. They said they
believe "a more positive approach" of working with consumers to
prevent or deter scams will be more effective than new law.
Besides, they said, existing state laws prohibiting fraud and other
financial crimes are sufficient ammunition for law enforcement to
GROUPS also object to the
Pennsylvania proposal because it exempts from its terms any "seller
of travel that is a nationally known membership organization or is
traded on a national stock exchange in the United States." That
means Expedia, Travelocity, Cendant, Orbitz, Hotels.com,
Priceline.com, Hotwire, American Express and AAA are automatically
off the hook, they said, while small businesses will bear all the
HAWKS, president of ARTA, said
his organization and OSSN will propose public-private partnerships
to "fix the problem from the ground up -- teaching Pennsylvania
consumers how to recognize and avoid travel scams from the get-go."
At the conclusion of the Nov. 9 meeting, Hawks said their final
plan will involve "a proposed bill with the single objective of
increasing criminal penalties for travel scams in Pennsylvania, and
a statewide consumer-awareness campaign that gives travelers the
red flags to watch for with scams and the top two or three tips for
avoiding such scams."
DATEBOOK: A National
Association of Commissioned Travel Agents seminar, featuring
training, workshops and networking, will take place aboard Oceania
Cruises' Regatta during a 12-night Caribbean sailing departing Dec.
9 from Miami. The member rate is $699 plus port fees and taxes;
nonmembers add $100. The itinerary and registration form is on line
FAM OF THE
Dates valid: Through Feb. 28 for two consecutive
Sponsor: Kimpton Hotels, San Francisco
Cost: Starts at $99 per night for the first night,
free for the second night. Rate is based on single or double
Trip: The Travel Agent Free Spree is valid at all
36 Kimpton properties in North America.
Contact: (800) KIMPTON or visit www.kimptonhotels.com.