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Kirk Cassels' Weekly Wrap of User Comments: February 22-26

February 26, 2010 By: Kirk Cassels

If you're feeling down because of the imminent end of the 2010 Winter Olympics or tired of cold, and perhaps snowy, windy and/or slushy, winter weather conditions, there's almost some semi-good news: we're almost halfway through those six weeks Puxatony Phil told us to eat. And as winter nears its end, some apparently are the plethora of comments we've been receiving about YTB, and that's even in light of recent events.

For now, the focus appears to be on Washington, D.C, both what's going on therein and the people involved. Let's take a look.

Agents and the Nation's Capital

When George Dooley recently spoke with Paul Ruden, ASTA's senior vice president for legal and industry affairs, about what agents can expect regarding the travel industry and the federal and state governments, some readers addressed the issues discussed while others responded to the publisher.

The first to chime in was Elizabeth Griffin, who commented:

This article is pure political propaganda, designed to make people afraid of health care reform and other bills now in Congress. Now that the Supreme Court has opened the doors to corporate sponsorship of politicians and parties, I suppose we'll see even more of this type of misinformation pretending to be news

Mary Louise Gross concurred, saying:

Are we sure that ASTA did not write this? It appears to be a huge endorsement of that organization!

ASTA did not write this article. George Dooley interviewed a ranking member of the organization, and then shared the more relevant and interesting material. There was no mention of health care reform or Supreme Court decisions, so I'm not sure why Liz and Mary seem so upset.

Regarding issues discussed in the interview, janet hillsong, shared:

seller of travel, should go after independents, agents that sell for hosts agencies and so called home based agents shuld contribute to the coffers. Not only ARC/IATAN agents who are registered- anyone who wants to sell travel or promote travel.. ie hotels, car rental, and espeically outside agents.. think of all the $$ that can be added to the coffers of sell of travel if they included all the agents from the MLMs

R.D. focused on agent-related matters as well, stating:

I only wish agents and agencies were MORE concerned about these issues than they seem to be. It's absolutely outrageous that California, for instance, can regulate and extort money from businesses outside its purview. Hypothetically, every single state, and even city, could decide that agencies must register and pay in order to sell travel to their residents - it's absurd. And Kerry's bill to add a further burden to small businesses who truly do utilize independent contractors is yet another worry. I hardly see these as "political propaganda!"

Meanwhile, when touching on a recent story about Las Vegas and its relationship with President Obama (although commenting on an article that is now more than a year old), one reader directed attention at the man in charge in Washington.

Jonathan wrote:

Given President Obama's degree of success thus far, I'd feel more comfortable with him opposing than supporting me. The "greedy large corporations" (including GM) shouldn't have gotten taxpayer money in the first place. I don't care how they spend their money so long as it isn't mine. That said, nobody in the history of American federal budgets wastes money like Obama.

Perhaps Jonathan will feel better about Obama if the President signs the Travel Promotion Act, which was recently passed by the Senate. Although it appears that legislation will not involve bailouts or taxpayer money. But that's to be confirmed with time.

Does Electronic = Not Luxury?

The Yachts of Seabourn has a reputation among agents as an ideal choice for those seeking a luxury cruise. But as the cruise line recently decided to offer paperless tickets, one reader sees the move as a step down in class.

Jim wrote:

Sorry to see a luxury product go down this road. I belive it lowers the appeal.

What do you think? Is a policy that is, perhaps, eco-friendly and more convenient for customers not as classy as the use of paper documents?

First-Hand Advice

I like to end a review of comments with something on the lighter side, particularly if it benefits any party. So when John asked a question about Scrub Island snorkeling, it was great to see our Caribbean editor Joe Pike respond.

John posted:

Thanks for your report. Looking forward to my May visit to Scrub Island. How were the beaches and snorkeling?

So Joe responded:

John, you picked a great time to go. By May, the resort will be 100-percent finished.

There is only a very small portion of beach on the resort's property, but still enough to enjoy.

Snorkeling near the resort's marina is amazing and further down the resort (where the villas will be) is also a great spot.

If you want to snorkel off property (and I highly suggest you do), take a ride on Dive BVI. You HAVE to go to The Baths on Virgin Gorda (about 20 minutes away).

I don't know much about fish, but there are tons of them of every color and every size. The folks at Dive BVI are experts and can tell you more about great snorkeling opportunities on the island.

Also, be sure to check out my blog posts on Scrub Island and other destinations at And thanks for reading!

Whether it's a direct response from one of our editors, or a dialogue among readers and agents, sharing your feedback on all things travel adds more to the story. So keep them coming. And don't forget to check in at AgentNation, the only social community online for all kinds of travel agents, for real-time discussions.


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