Hotels Against Tour Operator Deductions

The Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) is throwing its full support behind the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association in a strong stand against an international tour operator's decision to deduct five percent from regional hotel invoices.

The organization recently rejected a unilateral move by Thomas Cook charter division to deduct five percent from all August and September arrival invoices being issued to hotels in Cancun and other Caribbean destinations, and has promised a strong collective stand against such action.

Frank Comito, executive director of the BHA, said a local review had been conducted to gauge how widespread the issue was in The Bahamas.

"We have polled several hotels who do some business with them[and]thus far the five precent matter has not been presented,"he told Guardian Business."We have very little business that's done through Thomas Cook, they primarily represent a lot of European business.

"But we're certainly supportive of the CHTA and about this."

The statement follows reports from hotels that have been contacted verbally by the operator stating that the deduction was necessary to recoup lost earnings that Thomas Cook incurred this summer. Thomas Cook has refused the request from affected hotels to send this unilateral action in writing, said a statement sent to Guardian Business.

The CHTA is now encouraging Thomas Cook to withdraw this unilateral action in the interest of preserving the long standing relationship that Thomas Cook has established with the Caribbean and to avoid any legal action that hotels may be forced to take.

It''s offering its full support for its member hotels that have been verbally contacted by Thomas Cook in regards to unilateral deductions from arrival invoices by the operator. The organization has advised its other affected member hotel associations to also write to Thomas Cook.

"CHTA is polling our members to find out how far and wide this unilateral policy by Thomas Cook has spread,"said Alec Sanguinetti, Director General and CEO of CHTA, in the statement."We can't have any company taking unilateral and unauthorized monetary deductions because they experienced a drop in their earnings, no matter how steeped in history and credibility they have accumulated over the years.

"Tour operator contracts have been negotiated and are currently in place. Contracts are to be upheld by both parties and when this breaks down unilaterally it undermines the entire contracting system."

Sanguinetti also stated that CHTA is sending a letter to Thomas Cook on behalf of its member hotel associations expressing CHTA's concern and rejection of such unilateral actions by Thomas Cook which is outside of signed contracts currently in effect.

Sanguinetti also noted that Thomas Cook is not the only travel entity to have experienced losses in the summer of 2010 and that Caribbean hoteliers have also had the most challenging economic conditions to deal with in the history of Caribbean tourism.

Barring the cessation of this unauthorized policy of deductions for agreed upon arrivals, CHTA is supporting the strongest possible actions by its affected member associations against Thomas Cook.

Source: The Nassau Guardian