Member Code of Ethics
Effective Date 14 June, 2019
The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association (“FHTA” or “the Association”) was initially registered in 1965 for accommodation providers and has grown to include broader members of the tourism industry such as vendors and service providers. The accommodation providers of the Membership represent approximately 80% of the total room inventory in Fiji.
The Association’s membership now comprises approximately 280 Members across various segments, directly and indirectly linked with tourism including:
- Hoteliers and other accommodation providers
- Yacht (Cruising and Super Yachts)
- Food & Beverage Providers
- Rental Car Services
- Ground Operators
- Spa Services
- Crockery/Cutlery suppliers
- Kitchen Equipment suppliers
- Environmental suppliers and many more
FHTA is a voluntary association of Members and is the pre-eminent tourism industry association in Fiji. Its goals are to defend and advocate the professional interests of its Members while preserving the good name of the industry and adhering to ethical and legislated guidelines.
The Association and its Members agree to further urge their Member and non-Member partners to act in accordance with this Code.
The Code summarizes the guidelines of conduct for its Members, who agree to accept and be bound by it as a condition of Membership of the Association, and who openly declare their observance of the Code. In the event of their violation of the Code and a failure to remedy this violation, in accordance with the Articles of Association the Association’s Board of Directors (with the advice and consent of the Membership Committee of the Association) has the authority to decide upon the expulsion, suspension, admonishment, or to take other appropriate disciplinary action against the respective Member without any repayment of membership fees. A Member has the right to advance reasons why he or she should not be disciplined in accordance with the Articles of Association. No Member shall be expelled or suspended unless an absolute majority of non-interested elected Directors then in office shall affirm such penalty. An expelled or suspended Member may have the right to apply for readmission to the Association if the Member proves his or her bona fides and an absolute majority of the non-interested elected Directors then in office is satisfied by the reasons given for such readmission.
1. Preserve the good name of the industry and of the Republic of Fiji
The Association and its Members shall take such steps as will result in maintaining and improving the good name of the areas of hospitality, accommodation services and tourism. In their collective pursuit to deliver the highest of ethical standards and to maintain the integrity of Fiji’s Tourism Industry, the Members agree to uphold the following principles:
- To take into consideration the highest standards of honesty, fairness and legality in making business decisions
- To engage in such conduct at all times in a manner that will bring credit to the Tourism Industry
- To concentrate time, energy and resources towards the improvement of services and in so doing not engage in any act that may denigrate the services offered by competitors in the industry
- To offer services to all and without discrimination. Irrespective of whether the client is local or a foreigner, the same high standard of service, free of discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, gender, ethnicity, political views, sexual orientation, age, religion or any other basis as prescribed by the Laws of the Republic of Fiji should be offered
- To provide consistent and efficient services to each and every client congruous with the advertised or implied service levels of the Members’ business operations
- To develop and maintain the highest level of trust, honesty and understanding amongst clients and the general public
- To gain an honest profit from clients and provide the utmost transparency regarding fees and charges for all services rendered.
2. Comply with legal regulations and provisions
Members report, admonish and discourage any act considered criminal by the laws of the Republic of Fiji.
Members adhere to all legal regulations and principles and ensure financial records and accounts are maintained in compliance with valid rules and regulations and charges and taxes are duly lodged and paid in a timely manner.
Members support the collection of statistical data with the anticipation that the reports summarizing the processed data will improve industry development and the planning of investment and marketing activities.
Members prominently display registered business names, statutorily required certificates and licenses, the registered addresses of companies and the names of the responsible persons authorized to resolve complaints and handle operational issues.
3. Protect the rights of customers
Members provide potential and actual customers with accurate information on the type and quality of provided services or offered goods, clearly declaring the type, quantity and price of the goods or services and the conditions of purchase.
Members shall not discriminate against consumers on the grounds of nationality, gender, ethnicity, political views, sexual orientation, age, religion, or any other basis as prescribed by the Laws of the Republic of Fiji.
Members display prices of goods and services on all menus, price lists and packages inclusive of all applicable taxes and charges (VAT Inclusive Prices – VIP & STT). Receipts and bills or statements of account may indicate the taxes and charges separately (VAT Exclusive Prices – VEP with VAT and STT shown separately) but the grand total to be displayed as all-inclusive pricing.
Members make reasonable commercial efforts in good faith to promptly and efficiently resolve any potential or actual disputes or complaints made by their customers.
Members make reasonable commercial efforts to accommodate customers with physical or mental disabilities.
Members make reasonable efforts to ensure the privacy of all customers’ financial and personal information and do not disclose customers’ information except as required by law.
4. Adhere to contracts in business and supplier relations
Members conduct themselves within the principles of good faith with vendors and other suppliers and refrain from deceptive practices.
Members recognize and support free and fair competition.
Members adhere to the spirit and letter of verbal and written contractual relations.
Members pay undisputed invoices and statements on time and alert vendors of discrepancies or defects in a timely manner to avoid or minimize disputes
5. Protect the health and safety of customers and employees
Members expressly acknowledge their duty of care to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of customers and employees.
Members adhere to the National Fire Authority, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and especially Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) specifications and regulations in all aspects of operations.
Members create an environment to ensure the basics of care for personal hygiene and cleanliness on the part of employees (especially those involved in food and beverage handling, preparation, or serving) and the cleanliness of all spaces, facilities, and furnishings of the company.
Members maintain current and adequate insurance cover commensurate with the needs of the business.
Members motivate, empower and urge public authorities to provide protection for guests and their belongings.
6. Adhere to the work environment and labor-law regulations
Members create and maintain adequate working conditions for employees.
Members commit to base the relationship between employer and employee on core good faith values – respect, honesty, mutual trust, confidence and fair dealing.
Members provide feedback pertaining to the quality of job performance, create conditions for the development of further qualifications, eliminate any manifestations of discrimination in the workplace, ensure fair remuneration and respect social dialogue while preserving and ensuring the financial stability and development of the organisation.
Members conform to the valid legal regulations and payments of the educational (FNU Levy), pension (FNPF) and ensure any other required types of employee trust payments are duly made in a timely manner.
Members retain balanced relations between enterprise, labour unions, partner trade bodies, the public, governments and local, regional and/or international for-profit, not-for-profit and charities for the good of all parties involved.
7. Care for the young generation and the vulnerable while providing professional training
Members protect children and young workers from the harmful influences of addictive substances by taking reasonable precautions to prohibit their offering or consumption by minors within all areas of the premises.
Members responsibly approach the issue of professional training provided to the apprentices and students of vocational schools by making practical training activities available in their establishments. To the maximum extent possible, ensure care is given to the development of manual skills and crafts, moral qualities, responsibility towards personal cleanliness and hygiene, positive environmental attitude, performance of working activities and assigned tasks, level of sophisticated attitude to the customer, loyalty to the employer and the colleagues in the workplace.
Members support their employees in engaging in continuous learning for effective, sustainable and modern business standards, particularly in collaboration with Fiji National University and other tourism training institutions.
Members discourage and wherever possible prevent sexual tourism or exploitation of human beings in any form, especially of children and the mentally or physically challenged persons.
8. Support and respect local cultures and social traditions
Members recognise the unique qualities of the shared Fijian heritage but especially its cultures, traditions and values.
Members’ businesses play, beside their economic role, a significant role in introducing overseas guests to the Fijian way of life. Accordingly, information is given to the guests regarding the local customs and traditions, specialties of the local cuisine, cultural sights and natural landmarks of the area and its surroundings.
Members consciously promote responsible hospitality business and ethical values while at all times respecting the local community. Members defend and preserve tourism facilities and elements of cultural or natural heritage.
Members abstain from any act or conduct felt to be unduly offensive or injurious to the local populations, or likely to damage the local environment.
Members pursue activities harmonious with the customs and traditions of the Fijian people and with respect for the established laws and practices. Members shall assist and/or incentivise tourists and visitors to acquaint themselves with the characteristics of Fiji and her people.
Members engage in open dialogue, and consult with where appropriate, traditional stakeholders on changes to the business that may impact said stakeholders.
Member ensure that locals share equitably in the economic, social and cultural benefits generated by tourism activities, particularly in the creation of direct and indirect employment or revenue generation opportunities resulting from them.
9. Environment and sustainable development
Members’ operations are run in compliance with sustainable development, balancing the development of tourism while simultaneously preserving the natural and cultural heritage of Fiji and her peoples.
Members refrain from all trafficking in illicit drugs, arms, antiques, protected species and products and substances that are dangerous or prohibited by state law and regulations.
Members safeguard the natural environment with a view to achieving sound, continuous and sustainable economic growth geared towards satisfying equitably the needs and aspirations of the present generations and posterity.
Members shall reduce the pressure of investments on the environment by observing environmental impact assessment studies, so as to enhance the beneficial impact on the tourism industry and the local economy.
Members protect the natural heritage composed of ecosystems and bio-diversity and preserve endangered species of wildlife or protected areas by adhering to environmental laws and regulations.
10. Marketing and competitive environment
Members adhere to the rules of good faith and fair dealing in business, publicity and marketing procedures by:
- refraining from using or releasing misguiding, deceiving or dishonest tactics or information
- ensuring all information about themselves, and the goods or services rendered, is made available in a clear, expressive, accurate and easily accessible way
- conforming with all public notices concerning the business policies and the procedures of the establishment
- clearly stating the identity of the establishment in advertisements and marketing activities
- providing evidence of all pronounced or implied public statements made during a publicity or marketing campaign and for a reasonable period afterwards.
- Following as much as practicable and commercially viable the FHTA-endorsed “Recommended Practices for Bookings and Cancellations” to ensure a level playing field.
- At all times refraining from anti-competitive or collusive behaviour.
11. Breaches: Reporting, and Disciplinary Action
Reporting of suspected breaches, investigation of them by the Membership Committee and any disciplinary action necessary shall be done in a manner set forth in the then current and Board approved Breaches of Code of Ethics and Disciplinary Procedures. As compliance with this Code of Ethics is a condition of Membership of the Association, all Members accept the authority of the noninterested elected Directors of the Association to discipline a Member found in breach of this Code of Ethics following the process set forth. After any right of appeal is exhausted, the Board’s decision shall be final.
12. Interpretation of FHTA’s Code of Ethics
Should any clarification be required in regard to this Code of Ethics then the Membership Committee shall be so empowered to interpret the same. Where the Membership Committee is unable to interpret any code outlined herein then it shall revert to the Board of Directors to do so. Either the Membership Committee or the Board of Directors may consult a counterpart in another jurisdiction to assist in their interpretation or the appropriate application of the code as per the situation at hand.
Any amendment to this Code of Ethics may only come into effect after said amendment has been put before the Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting and a majority vote, of a valid quorum as per Association rules, in favour of the amendment has been executed either by a show of hands or if demanded at the time of voting, declared by secret ballot.
Where any amendment is passed, the Members of the Association must be promptly informed and the Member must accept the amendment as a condition of continued Membership. No amendment shall be applied retrospectively.
BREACHES OF CODE OF ETHICS AND DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES
Effective Date 14 June, 2019
The “Membership Committee” or “MC” will be made up of members of the Board of Directors “BoD” and be chosen by the Board.
“Non-interested Elected Directors” shall be those Directors who have been elected to the Board by the Members at an AGM or Special GM and who have not been obligated to recuse themselves from hearing the case because of an actual or perceived conflict of interest in the outcome of the case. A majority vote of the Directors shall be binding if a Director has not voluntarily recused him or herself and there is a question of interest.
A “Breach” shall be a breach that has taken place after the assent of the Membership at the AGM that the Member Code of Ethics (the “Code”) has been accepted and the Articles of Association have been approved. No Member shall be disciplined for retrospective breaches of the Code. However, the Member may be counselled by the Membership Committee.
All “Members” of the Association shall be subject to the Code including Active Members, Special Active Members, Associate Members and Honorary Life Members.
1. BREACHES OF CODE OF ETHICS AND CONDUCT
1.1. If any of the Association’s Members should be implicated in a breach of the Code then the Association is bound to refer the matter to the Membership Committee (“MC”) for resolution.
1.2. If a Member is alleged, through acts of commission or omission, to have breached the Code – or the Association becomes aware of a suspected breach – the MC shall investigate the alleged breach following the procedures outlined herein. Formally, in writing advise the affected Member of said investigation and report on the outcome thereof to the Board of Directors (“BoD”) of the Association. The findings of the MC and any submissions, orally or in writing, that the Member may wish to advance to justify why he or she should not be disciplined or any mitigating factors shall be presented to the BoD for determination prior to any sanctions being imposed unless the MC and the Member can jointly agree on the sanction to be imposed.
1.3. In accordance with the Articles of Association, only by an absolute majority vote of the noninterested Directors can a Member be suspended or expelled.
1.4. The MC must report the outcome of all investigations – including trivial or frivolous claims – to ensure transparency and for BoD oversight and approval.
1.5. The MC shall respond to all claims to confirm their receipt but is not obligated to advise the complainant of the outcome unless it should be deemed beneficial to the Association to do so at the discretion of the MC.
2. REPORTING PROCEDURE
2.1. Any person or organization may report any Member of the Association for an alleged breach of the Code. This is to be made in writing to the Chief Executive of the Association.
2.2. All such infringements shall be reported to the MC to be appointed in accordance with clause 11.4 of the Articles of Association of the Association.
2.3. The MC shall be comprised of a minimum of six Directors appointed by the BoD and a quorum shall be the greater of four or a majority of the members of the MC. As per the Articles of Association of the Association the President and the CEO are ex-officio members of the MC; however, only the President may vote, unless otherwise barred because of conflict of interest. With the approval of the BoD the Chair of the MC shall co-opt up to two fit and proper persons from the Membership to assist the MC in an advisory capacity only and do not have a vote. Such co-opted members of the MC shall cease to hold such an appointment, unless previously terminated, upon the calling of the next AGM of the Association.
2.4. In accordance with clause 3.5 of the Articles of Association of the Association, the MC is vested with the responsibility to carry out an investigation into any claim lodged against any Member and be responsible for any disciplinary action, if necessary, as directed by the BoD.
2.5. In the case of an allegation of a criminal act, the Association will make reasonable efforts to refer the complainant to the appropriate governmental agency to report the crime as it is not within the Association’s mandate to investigate or adjudicate criminal complaints. The Association may, at the discretion of the MC and/or the BoD, also investigate the complaint on the grounds Code violation. The Association respects the jurisdiction of the authorities on criminal matters. Furthermore, the Association cannot report any allegations of crimes based on unsubstantiated rumours. However, if there is a real likelihood or genuine belief that a crime is being committed or a Member is involved in criminal conduct or activities the Association in its discretion will instruct the Chief Executive to report such as matter to the authorities for their further investigation.
3. DISPUTE RESOLUTION AND ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
3.1. Where the MC determines that an alleged infringement is only a minor infringement and capable of being settled without recourse to the disciplinary procedures, an alternative form of dispute resolution may be implemented at the MC’s or BoD’s discretion.
3.2. This may range from a simple apology or immediate, substantiated corrective action to mediation, arbitration or other alternative form of dispute resolution. The Association shall have the discretion to implement the requisite form of dispute resolution.
4. INVESTIGATION PROCEDURE
4.1. Where a Member of the Association has breached the Code, the Association, if knowledgeable of the act, may take action immediately or by written complaint against the Member.
4.2. Complaints may be made by a Member or Non-member who may file a formal complaint against a Member. A formal complaint will consist of:
4.2.1. a written statement of the allegations against the Member
4.2.2. evidence in support
4.2.3. copies for the accused Member and the MC – these will be facilitated by the Chief Executive of the Association.
4.3. Anonymous complaints will not be considered.
4.4. The procedure for dealing with a complaint will be as follows:
4.4.1. Receipt of complaint in writing
4.4.2. The Association’s MC will hear from the party that has made the complaint in writing to ascertain the validity of the complaint
4.4.3. The Member against whom a complaint has been made will be given fourteen working days to make a response to the MC in writing. The MC shall give the Member notice in writing sufficient to allow a timely response to the complaint, including written notice of the complaint, the time limit accorded to the Member to make a response and provide any supporting evidence, an indication as to a likely hearing date, and the liaison on the MC that the Member can contact.
4.4.4. Failing a response from the Member the MC will consider the statement of allegation and evidence in support on their own merits and proceed to impose sanctions/penalties as the MC deems necessary.
4.4.5. Once the MC has reached a decision subject to clause 4.4.4 the MC will forward a recommendation to the BoD as to the disciplinary action to be taken against the Member. The Member can be admonished, suspended or expelled. Evidence of compliance following a confirmed breach of the Code may be required. Alternatively, the complaint may be dismissed because no violation took place or because no further action was required.
4.4.6. The MC may also seek further information from either of the parties in writing at any time prior to making a final decision regarding the Member.
4.5. If further information is required or in the event that the breach is severe enough to warrant possible suspension or expulsion, the MC shall convene a private hearing with the accused Member. If the Member elects not to appear or make alternative suitable arrangements the MC will deliberate based on the evidence provided.
4.6. The Member may select from a list, pre-approved by the BoD, of other Members to witness the hearing (“Witness Member”). The pre-approved listing shall include, at a minimum, the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Regional Committees of the Association and any other fit and proper persons that BoD may appoint. The Member may also propose any other Member, who must be an Active Member or Special Active Member of the Association, in good standing to be a Witness Member, subject to MC approval, which shall not be unreasonably withheld. The Witness Member shall confirm that the minutes of the hearing, taken by or at the direction of the Chief Executive, are a true and accurate record of the discussion.
4.7. The Member and the MC may call witnesses if required.
4.8. Legal practitioners may not be present; however, the Member and MC may seek legal advice prior to the hearing if necessary of their own volition and expense.
4.9. The MC shall then deliberate in private and make a recommendation to the BoD for confirmation.
4.10. A member of the MC who has an actual or perceived interest in the outcome of an alleged breach of ethics shall recuse him or herself from such a case as soon as possible after the conflict of interest is apparent.
4.11. A simple majority of the noninterested voting members of the MC is required to recommend any other action taken by the MC that does not result in suspension or expulsion to the BoD for confirmation. A two-thirds majority of the noninterested voting members of the MC is required to recommend suspension or expulsion. In the case of a tie, the MC shall refer the case to the BoD for deliberation.
4.12. Unless voluntarily agreed by the Member, a recommendation of any other action taken by the MC that does not result in suspension or expulsion action requires a majority of the noninterested elected members of the BoD for confirmation.
4.13. Notwithstanding any proposed amendment to these procedures to the contrary, pursuant to Article 4.5 of the Articles of Association, a recommendation for suspension or expulsion requires an absolute majority of the non-interested elected Directors then in office for confirmation.
5. DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST A MEMBER
5.1. Aside from an alternative dispute resolution as pursuant to Paragraph 3, possible outcomes of violations of Code include:
5.1.1. No Further Action
126.96.36.199. Upon advice and consent of the MC, the BoD can vote to instruct the MC to close the investigation because it could not obtain sufficient evidence that a violation of the Code had occurred or it decides, at its discretion, that the investigation should no longer be pursued.
5.1.2. No Violation/Dismissal
188.8.131.52. Upon advice and consent of the MC, the BoD can vote to instruct the MC to dismiss the case as no provision in the Code applies to the complaint or the allegations in the complaint do not constitute a Code violation or there is no substantive evidence of a violation of the Code.
5.1.3. Corrective Action Required
184.108.40.206. Upon advice and consent of the MC, the BoD can vote to instruct the MC to issue a letter of required corrective action that directs a Member to complete one or more of the following: submit subsequent reports and/or documentary or other evidence for review; and/or submit proof that the breach of the Code has been corrected. The BoD may instruct the MC to issue letters of required corrective action when it concludes that remedial action is appropriate and the violation is not of sufficient nature to warrant suspension or expulsion from membership.
220.127.116.11. FHTA does not publish the terms of the letter of required corrective action for compliance.
18.104.22.168. Upon advice and consent of the MC, the BoD can vote to publicly admonish a Member who has violated the Code if the gravity of the violation does not warrant suspension from membership.
22.214.171.124. Publication of admonishments in local newspapers and on the FHTA website is mandatory.
5.1.5. Expelled or Suspended
126.96.36.199. Upon advice and consent of the MC, the BoD can vote to expel or suspend a Member for a period up to two years. During the suspension period, a Member must not identify themselves as a FHTA Member on any letterhead or other written material, may not vote or hold a committee position or an office in FHTA or any Chapter, nor attend and FHTA or Chapter meetings, nor gain any benefits that membership of FHTA or Chapters may provide. In addition, the BoD or MC may direct a Member to submit subsequent reports and/or documentary or other evidence for continued monitoring during the suspension period.
188.8.131.52. Members should anticipate that expulsion or suspension (or admonishment) of a Member will occur when a disciplinary action is successfully taken against such member by an approved governmental or other organisation, unless there are significant mitigating circumstances or where the sanction is for historical violations and no longer occurring. However, a successful prosecution is not a necessary condition for the Association to take action for a breach of the Code.
184.108.40.206. An absolute majority vote of non-interested elected Board Members then in office is required for all expulsions or suspensions.
220.127.116.11. Publication of expulsions and suspensions, including the grounds, is mandatory.
18.104.22.168. A Member may be suspended if:
- They fail to uphold the practices and ethics of the Association or Members;
- They willfully neglect to obey the written directive of the Association in regards to a violation of the Code;
- They fail to comply with the general rules of the Association;
- They knowingly or through neglect or carelessness bring disrepute to the Hotel & Tourism industry;
- They are found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction of being involved in an illegal activity unless there are significant mitigating circumstances or where the sanction is for historical violations no longer occurring, in which case a lesser sanction may be imposed;
- They are declared bankrupt, the company is liquidated or wound up by a Court of competent jurisdiction in Fiji;
22.214.171.124. A Member may be expelled if:
- They repeatedly fail to uphold the practices and ethics of the Association or Members;
- They repeatedly and willfully neglect to obey the written directive of the Association in regards to a violation of the Code
- They repeatedly fail to comply with the general rules of the Association
- They bring disrepute to the Hotel & Tourism industry despite prior written warning to refrain or correct the practice that has given rise to the alleged offence
- They are declared bankrupt, the company is liquidated or wound up by a Court of competent jurisdiction in Fiji
- They repeat any action for which they have already received prior written warning of possible expulsion if the act was to be repeated
- They no longer operate in the form or style of a Hotel or of a recognized tourism operation
- They are found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction of being involved in an illegal activity unless there are significant mitigating circumstances or where the sanction is for historical violations no longer occurring, in which case a lesser sanction may be imposed
- They are six months or more in arrears in paying dues or assessments
5.1.6. Subsequent Monitoring Completed Satisfactorily
126.96.36.199. Where corrective action is required or an admonishment is issued, the Member may be required to prove that it has become compliant with the Code. The MC should give the Member a suitable period of time to become compliant.
188.8.131.52. Upon advice and consent of the MC, the BoD can vote to instruct the MC to advise the Member that the breach of the Code has been satisfactorily remedied. This would occur when the MC accepted the further reports or evidence that the breach of ethics that resulted in the prior disciplinary matter had been resolved or corrected.
5.1.7. Resignation, suspension or expulsion of a member
184.108.40.206. At least thirty (30) days written notice must be made to the Association should any of its Members seek to resign. The Member will not be eligible for a refund of any membership fees paid to the Association.
220.127.116.11. The Association shall have the power to suspend or expel any of its Members should they fail to abide by the Code. The grounds for suspension and expulsion shall be the same. The difference being the degree to which the Member has breached the Code as well as any past breaches.
18.104.22.168. A Member may be asked to resign or be expelled in accordance with Articles 4.3 to 4.5 of the Articles of Association of the Association.
22.214.171.124. Any Director who has or may be perceived to have a conflict of interest arising from any alleged breach of the Code shall be recused from the deliberations.
126.96.36.199. In accordance with Article 4.5 of the Articles of Association of the Association, an absolute majority of all non-interested Directors of the BoD then in office shall be required for the suspension or expulsion of a Member. Proxy votes shall be counted where a Director has given his or her proxy to another Director. However, an interested Director cannot give or vote a proxy.
188.8.131.52. All votes for expulsion or suspension (or reinstatement) shall be recorded and remain with the Chief Executive for a period of three years at which point they shall be destroyed.
5.2. Appeal against a decision of the committee
In accordance with Article 4.6 of the Articles of Association of the Association, any Member suspended or expelled may within thirty (30) days of the decision of the MC seek an audience with the BoD of the Association and present his or her arguments in writing and in favour of their continued Membership. The decision of the absolute majority of the non-interested directors then in office shall be final.
5.3. Reinstating a suspended or expelled member
In accordance with Article 4.6 of the Articles of Association of the Association, a Member may apply for reinstatement once they have become fully compliant and ceased the infringing act or activity. They are to express their aspiration to rejoin the Association in writing to the Association’s Chief Executive. Following notification of this by the Chief Executive to the MC, the MC shall determine whether the degree of compliance by the Member is satisfactory. If the Member’s compliance is deemed to be satisfactory then the MC is to recommend to the BoD that the Member be immediately re-instated. A two third majority of the MC must vote in favour of the suspended or expelled Member in order for the reinstatement to take effect. An absolute majority of the non-interested elected Directors then in office must confirm the reinstatement and their votes must be recorded. The Member is to be informed of their reinstatement by the quickest method employing the address last recorded for that Member in the Registrar of Members.
5.4. Non-conflict form
Members of the MC and BoD hearing a complaint and deciding on the same must sign a nonconflict form to ensure that there can be no allegations of a conflict of interest either from the general public or from within the Association’s Membership. Any MC member with an interest in the matter must recuse himself or herself and any Board Member must also be recused. A majority vote of the Directors shall be binding if a Director has not voluntarily recused him or herself and there is a question of interest.
6. NO CLAIM OR RECOURSE
Subject to the right of appeal as per Paragraph 5.2, in accordance with Paragraph 1.1(s) and Article 4.8 of the Articles of Association of the Association no Member shall have any claim whatsoever against the Board of Directors or the Association for any disciplinary action taken against that Member in accordance with these procedures.
7. DIRECTOR OBLIGATED TO RESIGN
In accordance with Article 6.8 of the Articles of Association, any Director who is the representative of a Member which is suspended or expelled shall be obligated to resign. Failing the Director’s resignation the Board shall remove the Director pursuant to Article 10.5 of the Articles of Association.
8. INTERPRETATION OF FHTA’S CODE OF ETHICS AND CONDUCT
Should any clarification be required in regard to these procedures for breaches of the Code of Ethics then the MC shall be so empowered to interpret the same. Where the MC is unable to interpret any section outlined herein then they shall revert to the BoD to do so. Either the MC or the BoD may consult a counterpart in another jurisdiction to assist in their interpretation or the appropriate application of the code as per the situation at hand.
Any amendment to these procedures for breaches of the Code of Ethics may only come into effect after such an amendment has been put before the Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting of the Association and a majority vote in favour of the amendment has been executed, either by a show of hands or if demanded at the time, by secret ballot.
Where any amendment is passed, the Members of the Association must be promptly informed as per the quickest method provided for each respective member as per the Registrar of Members.
RECOMMENDED PRACTICES FOR BOOKINGS AND CANCELLATIONS
Effective Date 27 September, 2013
So as to ensure a level playing field and to have clear policies and practices to ensure consistent application for wholesale and retail travel agent partners as well as our visitors, FHTA has devised these recommended best practices for bookings and cancellations. It is a requirement of the Code of Ethics that Members adhere to these policies as much as is practicable and commercially viable for each business. Not all recommendations will be applicable to all businesses and this is not meant to be overly prescriptive. However, it should give some indication as to the specifics of what is meant by good faith and fair dealing in business practices. Commercial realities will require variance from these practices in some cases. The variance should be reasonable and justifiable and in all cases the terms and conditions should be clearly set forth for the customer. This list is not intended to be exhaustive.
1. ADVANCE PAYMENT
1.1. The hotelier may require an advance payment either as a reservation fee or a guarantee deposit as a condition of acceptance of the reservation.
1.2. The reservation fee or guarantee deposit will be deducted from the final account but will not be reimbursed in case of late cancellation.
2. NO SHOWS
2.1. A hotel room must be available for the client no later than 3 p.m. on the day of arrival until 6 p.m. of the same day, unless the reservation is guaranteed or a late arrival is specified.
2.2. If a hotelier accepts a booking, he must keep a room or rooms available for the client until 6 p.m. on the scheduled day of arrival. After 6 p.m. he may dispose of the room (or rooms).
2.3. If the client does not arrive at the hotel after 6 p.m., it will constitute a no-show.
2.4. All no-shows whose accommodation has been confirmed will be charged for the entire length of stay.
3.1. In cases of over-bookings caused by the hotel, the hotel concerned shall take full responsibility, arrange suitable alternative accommodation, provide the necessary transfers and, in cases of cheaper accommodation being provided, “refund the difference in tariffs or equivalent in other services”. It is also the duty of the hotelier to advise the agent concerned of the guest’s amended arrangements.
3.2. All properties should take the utmost care in preventing over-booking due to negligence.
4.1. The terms and time-limits governing total or partial cancellation of the hotel contract, together with the amount of any compensation due in the event of cancellation, shall be agreed upon at the time of confirmation. The hotelier shall clearly define its cancellation policy for the period concerned.
4.2. Cancellation must be made in writing and dated, either by letter, fax, e-mail or other recognized form of written communication. If a cancellation is to take effect from the date of a verbal communication, the written confirmation shall refer expressly to it.
4.3. It is recommended that cancellations are valid and be penalty free if made between 45 to 30 days in advance, assuming notification is received by the hotel no later than 30 days. Any notification received thereafter should carry the cancellation or penalty fee. This policy should be clearly specified on the contracts.
4.4. It is recommended that compensation be fixed according to the following criteria. However, other commercially viable options may be employed as long as the cancellation policy is clearly defined:
4.4.1. Cancellation received within 30 days – one night cancellation fee for each room booked
4.4.2. Cancellation received within seven days but prior to day of arrival – two nights cancellation fee for each room booked
4.4.3. Cancellation received on the day of arrival should be treated as a no-show and entire length of stay should be charged.
5. GROUP DEPOSIT PROCEDURE
5.1. It is recommended that group bookings (normally defined as a minimum of 15 paying guests), are to be subject to the following procedures where economically and operationally practical. however, other commercially viable options may be employed as long as they are clearly defined:
5.1.1. Space for group bookings may be blocked without confirmation on the basis of 10% deposit of total business received at any time prior to the periods of revision, i.e. 120 days, 90 days, 60 days. Written confirmation of space blocked shall be given upon the receipt of 10% or one (1) night’s deposit for each room, whichever is greater.
5.1.2. At 60 days prior to arrival, a progress report must be provided and 50% of all unsold rooms will automatically be cancelled.
5.1.3. At 30 days prior to arrival, a complete rooming list, together with a further deposit of 50% of the balance of accommodation charges, must be provided and all unsold rooms shall be released for sale. Rooms covered by the rooming list shall be covered by the normal cancellation policy.
5.1.4. Balance of all accommodation charges must be paid before or upon arrival.
5.1.5. The hotelier should offer free accommodation equivalent to a half twin for every 15 full paying rooms.
6.1. Airline Bookings : Airline bookings shall be treated as request only and are not confirmed until such time as a voucher or deposit is received.
6.2. Travel Agents : Travel agents’ vouchers or email or other form of irrefutable confirmation must be received not later than fourteen (14) days prior to the arrival of the guests.
7.1. Local or overseas educationals and familiarisations (Tourism Fiji, SOFTA, PATA, etc.) should receive complimentary rooms where commercially viable with all requests subject to the acceptance of each individual property and availability. For familiarisations organised by Tourism Fiji, properties are recommended to accept Exchange of Checks (EoC) where commercially viable. Food and beverage should be the responsibility of each originating sponsor or individual participant. The hotel should not be forced or be put in the position of having to provide meals, cocktail parties or welcome drinks. However, hotels are not discouraged from doing so in a responsible manner if they so desire.
7.2. All hotels and properties should be given the opportunity to participate in these educational and familiarisation tours by offering accommodation or other means.
8.1. The hotel’s policy regarding commissions should be clearly stated and agreed upon by the travel agent before or at the time of the original confirmation.
8.2. Normal agents’ commission shall be 10% and shall be charged on accommodation only.
8.3. It is recognized that all hotels shall have the right to negotiate nett rates with wholesalers who package their products.
8.4. It is also recognized that all hotels shall have the right to change their rates in event of significant currency fluctuation.
8.5. Hoteliers shall take care to protect agents for commission earned by Pay Own Way (P.O.W.) guests, provided the booking is made by an agent.
8.6. Hoteliers should also pay commission to the agent for any period of extended stay – based on rack rate or negotiated rate unless contract rate applies.
9.1. Travel industry personnel on vacation or on unsponsored visits may be given the appropriate discount depending upon availability of space.
9.2. Agents on prearranged familiarization tours shall be discounted at the discretion of the hotel on the advice of the wholesaler or sponsor concerned.
10. DOUBLE BOOKINGS (PROTECTING SPACE)
10.1. To prevent double booking or protecting space, any agent known to use these methods should be reported to FHTA for proper communication and official advice.
11. PUBLICISED TARIFF AMENDMENTS
11.1. As much notice as possible shall be given to tariff amendments.
12. EXCHANGE RATES
12.1. A daily exchange rate of four (4) cents per dollar less than the current bank rate should be given. This rate may be varied in times of financial uncertainty.
13. PAYMENT OF ACCOUNT DUE
13.1. That in all cases agents be advised that contract rates will not be honoured unless accounts are settled within thirty (30) days of date of settlement.
14. BROCHURE SUPPORT
14.1. Payment of brochure support should not be encouraged automatically. FHTA does not encourage its members to finance brochure support either by means of money, free rooms or additional commission to wholesalers and airlines.
15. DIVERS AND DIVE SERVICES
15.1. The Association requires that all divers operating out of any hotel, resort or other dive operation are to be properly certified or qualified to conduct such activities. Where applicable, the requisite refresher courses should be undertaken by the diver(s).
15.2. Divers should be qualified to perform first aid and be able to capably react to any such situation where first aid may be required. The diver(s) should always ensure that all requisite safety equipment is up to date with regard to maintenance and servicing. The same should be readily available at any time there is a diving activity.
15.3. All divers should be well versed in the emergency protocols and procedures applicable to the dive services they provide.
15.4. All dive operators, irrespective of whether this is by way of a hotel, resort or other operator, should have valid insurance coverage, which should include public liability insurance.
15.5. All dive operators, who are members’ of the Association, should have their qualifications and practice verified via the Association as this can be done in a timely and much more cost efficient manner.
16.1. The Association requires that all hoteliers have suitable plans in place for natural and manmade disasters, including, but not limited to, fire, tsunami, cyclone, and flooding.
16.2. The Secretariat of the Association and/or the Ministry of Tourism should be notified as soon as possible after any damage is incurred or any other issue that might affect the health and safety of guests. The Association does not accept any liability for assistance granted or for any that it is unable to offer.
16.3. As soon as practicable before, during, and after any disaster the Secretariat will communicate national plans and infrastructure condition updates in concert with the National Disaster Management Office and other relevant authorities and stakeholders.
16.4. From time to time the Association and/or Ministry of Tourism may request situation and/or condition reports and requests that responses are provided in a timely manner.
16.5. Based on the severity of the disaster and the extent of damage, the Association will issue advice surrounding cancellations, re-bookings, and stranded passengers. However, the following baseline should apply in cases where a state of emergency has been declared. However, other commercially viable options may be utilised as long as they are clearly defined:
16.5.1. For Guests who have not yet arrived in the country:
184.108.40.206. Should Guests postpone their travel i.e. rebook for new dates; then no cancellation fees apply. (Postponements valid for arrivals until approximately one week following the disaster)
16.5.2. For Guests who are in the country and No Shows:
220.127.116.11. Failure to arrive at the booked hotel should be treated as per the hotel’s normal cancellation/no show policy. Guests should be able to claim against their travel insurance. If they have no travel insurance, that is their conscious decision and they take the risk.
16.5.3. For Island Properties:
18.104.22.168. Consideration should be given to advise guests of possible transfer restrictions as a result of stop sail orders that may be given. These orders may be with little notice and may restrict guests’ ability to arrive and/or depart your island and Fiji. Properties with guests due to arrive and/or depart during the time of this threat should consider a voluntary option of transferring guests to the mainland. Properties may consider furnishing affected guests with a letter to assist with travel insurance, and should assist with mainland hotel bookings.
16.5.4. Under no circumstances should a hotel or other tourism provider participate in “price gouging” before, during, or after a disaster and should not charge more than the published “rack rate” for any goods or services.