Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Tour operators tack surcharge on sun vacations

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Sunwing and Air Canada Vacations are also implementing $35 surcharges to offset the falling loonie -- Air Canada effective Jan. 27 and Sunwing effective Jan. 30.

WASHINGTON POST PHOTO BY RICKY CARIOTI Enlarge Image

Sunwing and Air Canada Vacations are also implementing $35 surcharges to offset the falling loonie -- Air Canada effective Jan. 27 and Sunwing effective Jan. 30.

THE price of a trip to the sunny south is going up as more tour operators add a so-called "currency surcharge" to offset the sharp decline in the value of the loonie against the U.S. dollar.

Transat A.T. (TSX-TRZ.B) spokeswoman Debbie Cabana confirmed Thursday Canada's largest tour operator is adding a $35 currency surcharge to sun destinations and Florida effective Jan. 27.

Published reports say Sunwing and Air Canada Vacations are also both implementing $35 surcharges to offset the falling loonie -- Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) effective Jan. 27 and Sunwing effective Jan. 30.

The Canadian dollar is down sharply against the American greeback this year, falling almost a full cent Wednesday and then finishing down 0.09 of a cent at 90.10 cents U.S. on Thursday. At one point in Thursday's session, it hit 89.35 cents U.S., the first time it has fallen below the 90-cent U.S. mark since mid-2009.

Sunquest, a unit of Thomas cook, got the ball rolling on the issue earlier this month, warning travellers to book by Jan. 11 to take advantage of lower prices before it began taking measures to compensate for the lower Canadian dollar.

Sunquest did not give a specific figure for its planned price increases aimed at offsetting rising hotel and fuel costs, which are priced in U.S. dollars.

"The increase will depend on the cost of the hotel itself -- the more expensive properties will see a higher increase, for the less expensive ones the increase will be less noticeable," spokeswoman Kerry Sharpe said in an email at the time.

Meanwhile, WestJet (TSX:WJA) said Wednesday it had "no intention" of imposing a currency surcharge on vacations in response to the falling dollar.

"We are committed to the transparency of our advertised prices," Tim Croyle, WestJet Vacations vice-president and general manager, said in a release.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 25, 2014 A30

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