Authentic Vacations has resigned its active membership with the USTOA following a “change in its business model,” according to a statement released by the tour operators association.
The company’s membership status with the USTOA was deactivated as of April 27.
Customers who book after April 27 will not be covered by the USTOA’s $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program, which comes with a tour operator’s active membership. Clients who booked tours with Authentic Vacations prior to April 27 will remain protected under the USTOA assistance program.
Authentic Vacations CEO Simon Russell said all clients will be financially protected despite the company’s break with the USTOA.
“We have valued our relationship with USTOA,” Russell said. “Authentic Vacations wants to assure our clients that this departure from USTOA in no way leaves their travel unprotected. We are financially stronger than ever, our clients’ deposits and payments are secure and they are protected in numerous ways.”
Meanwhile, USTOA CEO Terry Dale said, “Authentic Vacations has been a valued partner since 2018 and we appreciate the support the company has provided USTOA.”
Travel Weekly reached out to Authentic Vacations and the USTOA for comment and has yet to hear back as to why the company resigned from the tour operator organization.
Authentic Vacations, which specializes in customizable itineraries, joined the USTOA in 2018. The company first launched in 2001. It is a division of Tour Partner Group, which also owns U.K.-based business-to-business company Hotels & More, Irish Welcome Tours and Trans Nordic Tours. Authentic Vacations is headquartered in Santa Rosa, Calif., and has offices in Dublin, London, Copenhagen and San Francisco.
Active USTOA members participate in the organization’s $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program, which requires that a $1 million bond be set aside to protect consumers in the event the company experiences bankruptcy, insolvency or a cessation of business.
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