West­Jet takes pass on cur­rency sur­charge

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - TRAVEL -

THERE were some dis­grun­tled trav­ellers fol­low­ing the cur­rency sur­charge most of the Cana­dian tour op­er­a­tors re­cently added to their va­ca­tion pack­ages.

At $35 per per­son, this added $140 to a hol­i­day for a fam­ily of four who were con­sid­er­ing es­cap­ing our cold win­ter.

Even with the oc­ca­sional com­plaint, it did not hold back sunspot book­ings in the least.

As I pre­dicted a cou­ple of weeks ago, flights are sell­ing out and there are likely to be few, if any, of the last-minute sell-offs that seemed to ma­te­ri­al­ize in pre­vi­ous years.

The big­ger ques­tions are how far the loonie will fall against the U.S. dol­lar for next sea­son and how will the tour op­er­a­tors hedge their bets on this mar­gin as they re­lease pricing for next sea­son?

Up to the time of this writ­ing, West­Jet Va­ca­tions had re­sisted the urge to chase the rest of the tour op­er­a­tors and have forged their own path to loy­alty.

“We are com­mit­ted to the trans­parency of our ad­ver­tised prices,” Tim Croyle, vice-pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager of West­Jet Va­ca­tions, said in a state­ment. “We be­lieve the base price should re­flect the true price of the pack­age, and that the only taxes and fees charged should be those that are passed on to govern­ment and reg­u­la­tory bod­ies, not used to off­set cost in­creases. We want our guests and our travel agent part­ners to book with con­fi­dence with West­Jet Va­ca­tions, know­ing that we are striv­ing to pro­vide the best pos­si­ble pricing avail­able.”

This truly is a noble state­ment in a year when they eas­ily could have picked up sig­nif­i­cant rev­enues by in­sti­tut­ing the $35 add-on.

Ques­tion: Be­fore our first trip to Mex­ico, we were warned about the gaunt­let of “time share” sales peo­ple we would meet in the air­port.

As we walked through the air­port look­ing for trans­porta­tion pro­vided by our air­line to our ho­tel, a man asked for the name of our ho­tel. He di­rected us to an­other man who, he said, would ar­range trans­porta­tion.

It took us awhile to re­al­ize this was a time-share guy.

Our real trans­porta­tion was wait­ing for us just out­side the door with a man hold­ing a sign bear­ing the name of our air­line.

Does the fact the air­port author­ity al­lows the time-share peo­ple to use space on air­port prop­erty sug­gest the air­port is in ca­hoots with them?

Does this also sug­gest the air­line is part of the scheme?

We were told in this one des­ti­na­tion over 300 peo­ple who are not em­ployed by the time-share com­pa­nies are paid for each lead they sup­ply and they de­pend upon this ex­tra cash to feed their fam­i­lies.

An­swer: I can’t say for sure if the air­port author­ity is in ca­hoots with them but time-share ag­gres­sion is a fact of life in most Mex­i­can as well as other Caribbean des­ti­na­tions.

I do not be­lieve the Cana­dian char­ter air­lines are con­nected with them, but it is also true many make ex­tra cash by find­ing re­fer­rals for the sales peo­ple of these time shares.

Many of the ma­jor re­sort prop­er­ties have time-share sales­peo­ple and of­fices on site.

As I have stated in this col­umn in the past, these sales­peo­ple are among the best in the world. Many trust­ing cou­ples have found them­selves over their heads af­ter agree­ing to a pur­chase. Even with Mex­i­can law al­low­ing a short re­think­ing pe­riod, these sales pro­fes­sion­als are known to con­vince peo­ple to change their minds about chang­ing their minds over one con­ver­sa­tion.

New­found­land & Labrador

Join Em­bassy Tours and Con­nie Szczerba from Globus for an in­for­ma­tion evening on our group de­par­ture to New­found­land & Labrador, Aug. 4-15. Dis­cover the breath­tak­ing beauty of our own back­yard on this com­pre­hen­sive, 12-day, es­corted va­ca­tion. Early-book­ing sav­ings of $300 per cou­ple. 6:30 p.m. Tues­day, Feb.11, at Henderson Li­brary, 1-1050 Henderson Hwy. RSVP at 204-757.9383 or at em­bassy­tours@ mts.net

G Ad­ven­tures

Please join Around the World in 80 Ways and G Ad­ven­tures for a in­for­ma­tive evening. Find out about var­i­ous tour­ing op­tions in­clud­ing World Wide, Clas­sic/Com­fort, Vol­un­teer, Lo­cal Liv­ing, Fam­ily, Yolo and Ex­pe­di­tion Cruis­ing. 7 p.m. Wed., Feb. 12 at the Reh-Fit Cen­tre, 1390 Tay­lor Ave. RSVP to Arna Hall at 204-987.2845 or aruna@80ways.com.

Plains of Africa

Join Rosa Ber­tone of Marlin Travel and Ash­ley Van El­s­lan­der of Col­lette Va­ca­tions on a pre­sen­ta­tion on

I know many peo­ple who have been very happy with their time-share pur­chases. I know oth­ers who still re­gret the de­ci­sion they made.

This is a highly per­sonal de­ci­sion and fam­i­lies should dis­cuss in ad­vance whether they want to even lis­ten to the pitch. In the pre­sen­ta­tion you should be warned they can, and mostly likely will, suc­cess­fully over­come any and all ob­jec­tions you can come up with to the de­gree that many are soon fol­low­ing like sheep to the dot­ted line.

Also rec­og­nize the short pre­sen­ta­tion promised will not be that at all. an es­corted tour to Kenya, March 19-April 1, 2015. High­lights in­clude Nairobi, Sam­buru Na­tional Re­serve, Fair­mont Mt. Kenya sa­fari club, Lake Nakuu, Ma­sai Mara, Karen Blixen home, Mt.Kil­i­man­jaro, nine wildlife sa­faris. 7 p.m. Feb.12 at Marlin Travel Polo Park. RSVP to rosa.ber­tone@mar­lin­travel.ca or 204-944.7870.


Join Re­nais­sance/Jour­neys Travel and Har­ish Shroff, pres­i­dent of In­dus Trav­els, to learn about this ex­cit­ing and ex­otic des­ti­na­tion. Learn about our group de­par­ture, Royal Tour of In­dia, de­part­ing Oct. 15. 6:30 p.m. Thurs­day Feb. 13 at Henderson Hwy Li­brary. RSVP to 204-942.5000 or email Sheila.rem­pel@jour­neystravel.com

Ques­tion: Has the pop­u­lar­ity of Euro­pean va­ca­tions sub­sided with the in­creased mar­ket­ing be­ing done by Asian coun­tries such as Viet­nam and Cam­bo­dia, or even by South Amer­i­can ef­forts to at­tract peo­ple to Brazil and Ar­gentina as ex­am­ple?

I ask this ques­tion be­cause we are ac­tu­ally con­sid­er­ing Europe for sum­mer but un­der­stand it can be a very crowded tourist en­vi­ron­ment there.

An­swer: The pop­u­lar­ity of Europe is as strong as ever.

In a study re­leased by the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum mea­sur­ing some­thing called the Tourism Com­pet­i­tive­ness In­dex, five of the top 10 coun­tries were Euro­pean.

They were Switzer­land, Ger­many, Aus­tria, Spain and the United King­dom.

Europe is still most vis­ited dur­ing the sum­mer. Other than for fam­i­lies tak­ing chil­dren while school is out, I have never fully un­der­stood this pat­tern.

Dur­ing these months the des­ti­na­tions are not only crowded but very hot and of­ten hu­mid.

The shoul­der-sea­son months are cooler, not as crowded and less ex­pen­sive.

As a side note, Canada scored eighth on the sur­vey, mak­ing it one of the top 10 tourist des­ti­na­tions in the world, again fol­low­ing last year’s top 10 plac­ing.

For­ward your travel ques­tions to askjour­neys@jour­neystravel.com. Ron Prad­inuk is pres­i­dent of Jour­neys Travel & Leisure Su­per­Centre and can be heard

Sun­days at noon on CJOB. Pre­vi­ous col­umns and tips can be found at www. jour­neystrav­el­gear.com or read Ron’s travel blog at www.that­trav­el­guy.ca.

Fa­tima & Lour­des

Please join our ex­cit­ing group tour of Fa­tima and Lour­des with Father Fred Olds and Father Re­nato Pasi­nato Oct. 17-28. Eleanor Kotelo from Ex­pe­dia Cruise Ship Cen­ters and Ash­ley Van El­s­lan­der from Col­lette Va­ca­tions will host a pre­sen­ta­tion on this 12-day jour­ney through Por­tu­gal, France and Spain at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at St. Ber­nadette Parish, 820 Cot­ton­wood Rd. RSVP to Eleanor at 204-791.7857 or ekotelo@cruiseshipcen­ters.com.

Celebrity & Uni­world

Take in the sights of an­cient ru­ins in Athens; the smell of fresh tulips in Am­s­ter­dam, the sound of Big Ben ring­ing in Lon­don and the taste of fresh gelato in Venice, all while ex­pe­ri­enc­ing lux­ury on­board some of the world’s finest ships. Join us for a free pre­sen­ta­tion about cruis­ing with Celebrity Cruise Line and Uni­world Bou­tique River Cruises at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Ross­mere Coun­try Club, 925 Watt St. RSVP to Diane at 204-262.6185, by email di­anel@caa­man­i­toba.com or at www.caa­man­i­toba.com/trav­el_p­re­sen­ta­tion_nights


It is the sights and his­tory of the ma­jor coun­tries like Switzer­land that are still at

tract­ing world­wide visi­tors.


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