17/04/2009Oasis Hotels Announcement on Conquest Vacations Closing

OFFICIAL STATEMENT

Cancun, Mexico (April 17th, 2009).- On April 15, 2009, Conquest Vacations abruptly announced that it was shutting its doors. As a result of this sudden and unexpected closing, many parties were affected including consumers who had purchased vacations, the travel agencies who made bookings with Conquest on behalf of consumers, and the suppliers who provided the vacation elements including hotels, airlines, ground transfer companies, etc.

It is unfortunate that this entire situation may have been avoided, as The Toronto Star newspaper reported on April 17th that “Ontario’s travel industry watchdog knew the now-defunct Conquest Vacations was facing difficulties, but did not warn the public because it said the seller of holiday packages was solvent and could have turned the business around. The Travel Industry Council of Ontario, or TICO, a self-managed not-for-profit organization that oversees the Ontario Travel Industry Act, had been working with Conquest as it faced a fiercely competitive market at a time when the economic downturn threatened sales, but said Conquest instead decided to shut itself down.”

Oasis Hotels & Resorts is tremendously saddened by this situation as we have worked with this company for almost 20 years. Our thoughts are with not only the employees of this company, but with all consumers and companies which are affected by the situation.

Unfortunately, hotel providers like Oasis and many other suppliers, are left behind with mounting debt and basically no resource to collect such amounts due to the fact that while consumers may have paid Conquest for their vacations, Conquest never paid us. The airlines, however, are paid in advance, so that is why Conquest has advised everyone on their website that their return flight will be covered. They do not address, at all, that the hotel stays, ground transfers, etc. will be paid.

The result is that consumers have been enjoying vacations at our hotels and resorts — sleeping in our beds, eating our food, drinking our beverages — which were never paid for. We have no recourse but to require payment prior to the traveler’s departure and in turn, we are recommending that consumer contact their credit card companies to request a refund since Conquest did not deliver the service which were paid for. Travelers seem to be quite angry at the hotels involved in this situation; however, the anger should be directed at the appropriate party: Conquest Vacations.

Our decision to collect from the guests in-house is based upon the fact that the Canadian Consumer Protection Laws provide a very important safety net designed specifically to protect the interest of the consumer. This safety net is based on different programs such as escrow accounts set up with charter airlines, posted bonds, deposit guarantees with credit cards, etc.

However suppliers such as hotel companies, ground transfer suppliers, etc. operating outside of Canada are not protected under any type of plan such as this. It is also a fact that bankruptcy laws always provide priority to the consumer when it comes to compensation and redistribution of assets left behind by the defunct company.

We completely understand that this situation is upsetting to everyone involved and we regret the impact it may be having upon people’s vacations. In an effort to transition through this very difficult event, we have informed every one of our guests what was happening and have advised them that upon their return, they will need to follow the instructions posted on the websites such as TICO.ca in order to recoup their money as these protection programs have been set up to do. To also further assuage the upset this situation has caused, we are offering guests two options:

1) Passengers who are currently at the hotel and will be departing in the next few days will be charged a specially discounted rate applicable exclusively for this unfortunate event. These rates are 40% lower than the standard published rate ($50 for those staying at Oasis properties, per person, per night and $65 for those staying at Grand Oasis properties, per person, per night). Those guests who already departed and who already paid the published room rate can contact Oasis Hotels at jcervantes@oasishoteles.com to request a credit for the difference.

2) Oasis Hotels is also offering those Conquest vacationers who were in-house during the announcement of the shutdown, a complimentary return visit to our hotels for the same number of nights and people on a complimentary basis (subject to availability; certain black-out dates apply). This vacation must be claimed by November 30, 2009 for travel in 2010. In order to claim this stay, guests may contact
jcervantes@oasishoteles.com.

We hope that everyone involved understands that this is not the fault of Oasis Hotels & Resorts — or every other travel supplier involved — but actually falls under the responsibility of Conquest Vacations which was entirely responsible for this situation. Oasis Hotels, like the consumer and other travel suppliers, is also a victim of this situation. We remain committed to the Canadian market and want to support the Canadian travelers and travel agent community as much as possible and will do whatever we can to rectify this situation.

Any inquiries regarding Oasis Hotels and this situation may be directed to jcervantes@oasishoteles.com.

PRESS CONTACT
JC Communications, LLC
Jane Coloccia at 609-737-2587
or janecoloccia@gmail.com