Canada

Ontario Parks vows to clamp down on scalpers reselling campsites at steep prices

If Ontario Parks becomes aware anyone has attempted to sell a reservation for profit, the reservation ‘may be cancelled and all applicable penalty fees will apply’

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Ontario Parks has vowed to crack down on people who are reselling campsite reservations at steeper prices amid an outcry from frustrated campers.

Starting this Saturday, reservation holders will not be permitted to resell any reservation for profit, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) told the National Post in an email.

“We don’t condone reselling Ontario Parks reservations for a profit and we take concerns raised by our visitors very seriously,” it wrote, saying it is aware of “instances where individuals are attempting to sell reservations with the intention to make a profit.”

Campers have been trying to secure sites for this summer, with Ontario Parks seeing an almost 135 per cent increase in reservations made between Jan. 1 and March 28 this year, compared to the same period in 2020.

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Because of the competition and high demand, some people have been reselling their reservations on websites like Kijiji — sometimes at five times the original amount. 

One campsite at Algonquin Park, for example, was listed on Kijiji for $240 for a three-night stay, which would have cost $161.03 including tax if booked through the Ontario Parks website.

Now, MECP says if it becomes aware anyone has attempted to sell a reservation for profit, such as listing a reservation on social media or a buy-and-sell website, the reservation “may be cancelled and all applicable penalty fees will apply.”

MECP says it is also looking at new ways to make more campsites available for reservation to satisfy the growing demand.

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