Volume 95, Issue 9

Friday, September 14, 2001
 
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NEWS

Mourners gather in UCC

Fears arise in local Muslim community

Ontario hotels house stranded Americans

Your voices

Ontario hotels house stranded Americans

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff


While the world scrambles to get back on its feet following the events of Sept. 11, Canadian travel and transportation industries are feeling the pressure of increased scrutiny over their efforts to accommodate stranded individuals.

Media reports yesterday of certain Ontario hotels raising rates due to the high volume of stranded travellers caused a backlash from across the province and left hotel managers clambering to reverse the damage.

Rod Seiling, president of the Greater Toronto Hotels Association claimed certain national papers were incorrect in their reports of doubled rates at Toronto hotels. "Rates were not raised. They were actually lowered once the magnitude of the tragedy was discovered," he said.

Seiling said some patrons may have been charged a maximum rate if they checked in early or before word of the bombings spread, however, once hotel officials realized the seriousness of the issue, all stranded travellers were issued a reduced rate or refund.

"When the severity of the tragedy was learned, most hotels reduced their rates for anyone disrupted by the event, often to such a low point they were really only charging for labour costs," he stated.

Seiling said hotels were going as far as putting four people in each room, renting out cots to fill any available space and offering free phone and fax services to those who needed to contact people in the United States.

Hotels in the London area have also been busy dealing with similar situations. Some have been booked solid all week with travellers who cannot move on; others have experienced financial loss due to the large numbers of cancellations.

"We are in the business to make money, but there are different priorities at different times," said Jerry Pribil, general manager of the Station Park and Days Inn hotels in London. He added rates at both hotels were reduced by $14 per room for stranded travellers and those affected by the bombings. "We do not consider this a time to take advantage of stranded travellers," he said.

Lesley Cornelius, the director of marketing and communications for the London Economic Development Corporation said that as a "transportation hub," London businesses will experience a "trickle down effect" from Tuesday's tragedy.


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Copyright The Gazette 2001