Always Protect Your Vacation

Reason number 1 to book your vacation with a TICO registered Travel Agency: Skyservice Airlines 

A guest called our office last week right after Skyservice folded. They booked the Walt Disney World Resort portion of their vacation with us, but insisted on booking flights ten dollars cheaper than what we were offering elsewhere. The carrier they were booked on? Skyservice Airlines. Our guest called in hopes of us helping them get their money back, but unfortunately we could not do anything, as they did not book their flights with us. We advised them to call TICO and find out what their course of action was.

TICO (Travel Industry Council of Ontario) is Consumer Protection. It is an organization mandated by the Ontario government to administer the Ontario Travel Industry Act, 2002 which governs approximately 3,000 travel retailers and travel wholesalers registered in Ontario. In order to legally operate as a travel agency in Ontario, you must register with TICO and have a storefront office. If a travel agent is not TICO registered, do NOT give them your money. In the age of the internet, anyone can create a website and call themselves “travel agents”. There are websites dedicated to selling Disney Destination Travel by “experts” who will plan your vacation for you. But, ask them where their office is and chances are majority will ask to meet you in a coffee shop or will only communicate via email.

Reason Number 2 to book your vacation with a TICO registered Travel Agency: Conquest Vacations.

In April 2009, I was vacationing at the Henry Morgan Resort in Roatan, Honduras. We heard that there was going to be a meeting for all Canadians because Conquest Vacation had folded and we were going to have to pay the resort to leave! Sure enough, all Canadians who had traveled with Conquest Vacations (42 of us) were served with invoices from the Henry Morgan Resort, as Conquest Vacations did not pay them for the hotel portion of our all-inclusive stays and the resort needed to get paid for our vacation somehow.

Being a savvy travel agent (and traveler), I knew that because I booked my vacation through our storefront travel agency, TICO would pick up the tab. My group and four other couples were spared having to pay $1,700 USD to depart - this was the set cost the resort had insisted on. Unfortunately, the other remaining travelers were either from another province (where such consumer protection does not exist) or had booked their trip at the cheapest on-line source they could find. As a result, they had to pay to leave the resort. Not exactly my idea of paradise.

In order to protect your investment, always book your Disney (or any) vacation with a TICO registered travel agency. Visit their storefront office or call them up. Feel secure with where you spend your money, as travel is one of the few products which you purchase before you are able to inspect or try the merchandise.

Kathryn Dickson is a Disney Vacation Planning Specialist with Fairytale Dreams and Destinations. Fairytale Dreams and Destinations which is the only TICO registered agency in Ontario that deals specifically with Disney destinations. You can contact Kathryn at
905-857-3611 or by email at

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