Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tourism commissions rip-off?

News Ltd press are reporting a new inquiry by the Queensland State Guvmint into tour desk commissions with a suggestion of unethical practices in Cairns. Tour desk commissions have been a constant complaint for many years by tour operators. Commissions typically 35% to 45% are indicated in this report which is certainly a large component. There has apparently been a previous inquiry by the ACCC.
The industry has already been through an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which found market forces were working and warned operators that, if they banded together to demand a set fee, it could contravene the Trade Practices Act.
I would have thought this was a sector where there would be growing competition from online bookings and smartphone apps? If commissions are excessive then why isn't there greater competition as has happened in retail and other travel services such as airline bookings?

PS: There is also a link from that report to another on world tourism numbers from a UN agency.

Update: This did appear front page of today's Cairns Post hardcopy but I somehow missed it online: Price Gouge. Charlie Woodward does refer to the growth of online booking. The Post version includes claims of even higher commissions of as much as 66% although one must be wary of 'journalism mathematics' as this doen't seeem to correlate with the other numbers provided

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