Notification of fee changes for travel agents and wholesalers (2018-2020)

Consumer Protection BC is an independent, self-funded, not-for-profit organization. Government has tasked us with regulating and licensing your sector. We have the legal authority to set your licensing fees and other charges. In doing so, we are required by law to recover our costs, to consult with you and to provide at least ninety (90) days’ notice prior to changing or introducing new fees.

What is happening?                                                                                   

We are notifying you that the licensing fees and other charges for 2018-2020 are changing. Our Board of Directors has approved the following fee changes that will take effect January 1, 2018:

  • Annual 2% increases for all licence fees and other charges for 2018-2020.
  • Fees for replacement licences and late licence renewal have been eliminated.
Fee TypeCurrent  FeeFees Jan. 1, 2018Fees Jan. 1, 2019Fees Jan. 1, 2020
New travel agency/travel wholesaler licence$1,126$1,149$1,172$1,195
New branch office licence$675$746$761$776
Initial contribution to the Travel Assurance Fund$563$574$585$597
Renewal travel agency/travel wholesaler licence*$675$689$703$717

* For more information about changes to the structure of subsequent licence renewals (starting in 2018), please read the information below.

For a full listing of all fee changes and other charges for your sector, please review the 2018 fee schedule.

Why are fees changing?

Your licensing fees pay for the direct costs of regulating your sector, such as licensing, compliance inspections, complaint handling and enforcement activities, as well as indirect costs like IT, finance and accounting, office rent, etc. Every effort is made to control and maintain the cost of regulating your sector; however, some increases are unavoidable. In some cases, cost increases are consistent with inflation, in other cases, increases are based on specific and unique factors related to a sector (for example, changes to the law that result in new regulatory requirements).

Consumer Protection BC’s costs for regulating the travel agent and travel wholesaler sector have remained relatively consistent since 2015. Therefore, we are continuing with 2% annual increases, as in the previous three years.

You will also notice a new structure for licence renewal fees, effective January 1, 2018. You will pay a lower fee if you renew your licence at least two (2) weeks before it expires. This means you will pay less if you renew your licence at least two weeks prior to its expiry starting with 2018 licence renewals.

Additionally, we will no longer be charging late fees. If you don’t renew your licence by its expiry date, you will need to submit a new licence application, which costs more money.

The purpose of these changes is to encourage you – our licensed businesses – to renew your licence before its expiry date. This will create efficiencies when we process licence renewals and will benefit you, as a licensee.

If you want to learn more about the fee review process to date, please read the fee review consultation document.

What did we hear from you?

We heard from 5% of the licensed travel agents and wholesalers on our e-mail list. Our goals for the consultation were to make licensees aware of pending licence fee changes and to solicit feedback on those changes and our process. Of those who responded to our survey, 100% indicated they understood that we were proposing to change licensing fees and other charges. Further, 86% of respondents indicated they understand how we use their fees to regulate your sector.

The emergent themes from the feedback we received can be summarized as follows:

  1. Concerns that the new tiered licence renewal policy will result in having some licensees being required to submit new applications if they do not renew on time, with the associated costs related to Travel Assurance Fund contributions, etc.
  2. Expectations expressed that a higher proportion of travel revenues be directed towards education and awareness related to the sector.
  3. Expectations of being provided with more detailed information evidencing our increase in operating costs.
  4. Interest in a future volume-based licensing fee structure for travel agents/wholesalers.

With respect to these feedback themes, we would like to provide the following context and clarification:

  1. The new tiered licence renewal policy, which we are implementing for all our licensed sectors, is meant to encourage licensees to renew early or on-time. This is expected to create efficiencies in our processing of licence renewals, which will benefit licensees.
  2. Our operational expenses for education and awareness are proportionally consistent across our licensed sectors. As a regulator, our education and awareness initiatives are focused on raising awareness of the rights and responsibilities of both businesses and consumers under the law.
  3. We prepare annual financial statements which are made publicly available on our corporate website. The financial statements are audited by an independent third-party auditor and our annual budget is approved by our Board of Directors.
  4. While consideration of a volume-based licensing fee structure is not possible for the 2018 fee review process, we are open to hearing from our travel sector stakeholders about their views on a potential future volume-based fee structure.