Technology

OTA forced to pay $6.5m in withheld payments to hundreds of Aussie tour operators

The Australian consumer watchdog has concluded its investigation into online booking platform Website Travel after it paid around $6.5 million of withheld funds to more than 350 Aussie tour operators.

In April 2020, Adventium announced it would withhold funds received through its Website Travel platform that were owed to tour operators, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as its reason for doing so.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) then commenced an investigation following concerns raised by a number of tourism operators, particularly in Queensland, it said.

“We were concerned that Adventium was withholding payments from tour operators at a time when COVID-19 had already severely affected their cash flow and commercial viability,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said.

In some instances, Adventium withheld the payments for almost 12 months, in circumstances where those tour operators had already provided their travel services to consumers and incurred costs.

“We recognise that Adventium has now made all outstanding payments to affected tour operators, and we took this into account in deciding to conclude our investigation,” Court said.

Adventium has taken steps to avoid a similar situation occurring in the future, by ensuring that funds obtained from travel agents for payment to tour operators are held separately from other funds, the ACCC said.

Adventium owns the online booking platform, Website Travel, which connects travel agents and tour operators to facilitate consumer bookings and payments between travel agents, consumers, and tour operators.

According to the Website Travel website, more than 3,400 operators and over 600 travel agents across 11 countries use the Website Travel platform.

In 2020, the ACCC refocused its enforcement and compliance efforts on competition and consumer issues arising from the pandemic.

This included taking action to address “any behaviour by businesses which seek to exploit the pandemic either to unduly enhance their commercial position or harm consumers”, it said.

The ACCC said it will continue to closely monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry, to ensure that consumers and small businesses such as tour operators receive the protections afforded to them by the Australian Consumer Law.


Featured image source: https://websitetravel.com/Kee



SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Hotels

TAA appoints new board member

It’s a good things that travel is an interesting industry otherwise they’d be appointing a new ‘bored’ member.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

New data suggests China Eastern nosedive may have been intentional

Investigations into a tragic plane crash that killed 132 people earlier this year have revealed that it was likely not due to technical fault.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Luxury Escapes partners with the Travel Corporation

Similarly, Travel Weekly is trying to form a partnership with the cafe downstairs, which they correctly recognised as another attempt to get free coffee and shut down immediately.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas teams up with Zip for buy now pay later flights

Looking for new and exciting ways to financially cripple the millennial and Gen Z market? This one from our national carrier takes the cake.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

AGENT GUIDE: How to give your clients the best possible South America experience

by Sponsored by Chimu Adventures

From the snowcapped Andes and the Amazon rainforest to the culture clad streets of Buenos Aires and Rio, South America is a treasure trove of rich experiences not to be missed.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Cunard reports biggest booking day in a decade

The rumours are that many Cunard employees went home that day with a big sack with a dollar sign on it after a massive day on the job.

Share

CommentComments

News

Travel just got easier: No more pre-departure tests for New Caledonia, Tahiti, Indonesia

What would make travel really easy for us is if a nice company out there would like to send a Travel Weekly reporter on a nice trip overseas (wink, wink, nudge, nudge @anyone please).

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Dream Cruises ship resurrected for new cruise brand

Don’t just sit around dreaming of cruises, hop on this revived Dream Cruises ship for your first getaway in two years.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Collette wraps up its first travel forum in two years

The tour operator hosted top sellers, partners, key travel players and media friends (that’s us!) for poolside shenanigans in sunny Cairns.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

“Travel is the great educator”: Collette CEO Dan Sullivan on why we need travel now more than ever

We spent the past few days sipping mojitos by the pool in Cairns… Oh, and attending Collette’s travel forum! Here’s proof we were listening.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

“It’s our shout”: Flight Centre is giving away free holidays!

The travel giant is giving away 40 holidays to celebrate its 40th Birthday! Nobody tell them that it’s usually the other way around…

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

QT Newcastle signature restaurant and bar revealed!

It might seem like we’re calling Newcastle a ‘cutie’ but rest assured, our cutest NSW city award still goes to Griffith.

Share

CommentComments