A conference on the threats to tourism resorts posed by Discount Travel Membership Clubs (DTMCs), organised by the Tenerife government, served as an ideal platform to raise awareness of this issue and call for a unified fight against this fraudulent practice.
Speaking at the conference was RDO’s Head of Enforcement, Alberto Garcia, alongside Mike Haley from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), Ignacio Paredes from the European Consumer Centre (ECC) and Juan Rosales from the Tourism Department of the Government of the Canary Islands.
An audience of around 40 timeshare industry members, representatives of consumer associations and local authorities, heard details about how DTMCs operate, often misleading consumers and damaging the image of tourism destinations like Tenerife.
The conference was followed by a round table discussion, where RDO demonstrated its deep knowledge of this issue from years of fighting fraud through the Enforcement Project, answering questions from the audience.
The event was deemed a success by RDO’s Alberto Garcia: “Some local tourism officials had been reluctant to recognize the seriousness of the problems caused by DTMCs until now, but this conference helped them understand the issue better and we can now count on their support in our fight against fraud.”
Following the conference, a new working group, led by RDO, has been created to continue the fight against DTMCs. RDO’s Enforcement team will regularly inform the main authorities and consumer bodies (including the OFT, ECC, the Consumer Agency and Ministry of Tourism of the Canary Islands and the local police) about the activities of DTMCs operating in Tenerife.
Alberto Garcia is confident that the threat of DTMCs in Tenerife could soon be a thing of the past. “A year ago there were twelve DTMC sales decks operating in Tenerife. Now there are only two or three left and our aim is to have them all closed down before the summer season,” he said.