Paycation or Payscam: Belize’s New Certified Travel Agency 3


Introduction

Two weeks ago, I saw that a lady posted on Facebook that she had completed a training to be a Certified Travel Agent. She appeared interested in doing bookings for Belizeans. I was a bit puzzled by this. I would have expected that it’s much more lucrative to book tours for international visitors to Belize than being interest in booking Belizeans out of country. Thinking little of it, I just continued scrolling my Facebook feed.

Certificate received by Belizean

Certificate Xstream Travel Belizean (1)

Today, I became suspicious when I saw another Belizean posted that he too had completed a program and is now a Certified Travel Agent. I was compelled to do a little investigation. It turns out the certificate are being issued by a company named Xstream Travel operating out of the United States.

Upon visiting the website, my suspicions become more acute. I am aware of the general features of website scams and this had all of them, reflecting the handiwork of an amateur. It is a basic website with no substantive content about the company and the training. The sole purpose of the website is to lure visitors in. Users must email them to get superficial instructions to become “Certified” which I did.

I am treating this seriously because it would appear that that a few dozen Belizeans have already signed up for the certification. The company recently had some representatives in Belize to recruit new members. They appeared to have done a good job. They got air time (see Open Your Eyes Interview) and we now have Belizeans who claim to be “Executives” in the company.

Blaton Banks – National Expansion Executive on Open Your Eyes

After examining this, I am of the opinion that Xstream Travel and Paycation are to be treated with great suspicion as scams. Xstream and Paycation, which are managed by David Manning, have saturated the internet with many articles and videos to present themselves positively but careful analysis quickly begins to sound warning bells.

Warning Bells

You must hear the warning bells ringing when:

  • You are lured into getting rich speeches and promises to travel the world and that if you fail it’s because you did not try hard enough
  • Paycation and Xstream Travel websites have no substantive content about their employees, policies, and training programs.
  • An initial email sent to Xstream Travel <support@xstreamtravel.com> gets you a response from the CEO – the company has no secretary or sales representative? (Email here)
  • The certificates issued by Xstream Travel are in italics and not a penned signature (Certificate Received by Belizean)
  • You are asked to give Paycation about $2,000 BZD a year and get chump change in return for having your friends sign up pay the same to become “Certified Travel Consultants”! ($300BZ for registration and then monthly fees, See email correspondence)
  • Paycation has saturated the internet with cheezy content to overwhelm search results with their propaganda (Example 1,  Example 2, Example 3, Example 4)
  • The ‘employees’ don’t know their history and to keep their story straight (Testament 1, Testament 2).
  • The flyer for an international travel agency looks like this (Click here)
  • Representatives are engaged in luring people to other get rich deals (Example 1, Example 2, Example 3, Example 4)
  • 37,000 people have taken the “training course” and none have failed and no pre-job or computer skills are needed (Testament 1, Testament 2)

These are the alarms that ought to be sounding before signing up with Xstream/Paycation. There are also economic mechanisms of how the scam works in the name of multi-level marketing. For this, I recommend looking at the analysis by Ethan Vanderbuilt.

Ethan Vanderbuilt opinion on Paycation

Conclusion

I anticipate Belizeans who have registered for this program must really believe in the company. They may have even collected their commission for recruiting others. However, give it some time, and the worst is yet to come, if not for them, for other recruits.

Besides these ethical complaints, there are also legal dimensions to Paycation operating in Belize. What are the legal requirements and procedures to be a travel agent in Belize? Are they registered? I have requested a response to this question from colleagues at the Belize Tourism Board and will be posting it as soon as it becomes available.

Rolando Cocom
Download PDF Article Here

 

Recommended article:

Ethan Vanderbuilt (2015). “Paycation Scam? Yes It Is In My Opinion!”. Retrieved from: http://ethanvanderbuilt.com/2015/03/28/paycation-scam-opinion/


About Rolando Cocom

Rolando is a graduate of Sociology from The University of the South Pacific (USP). He also holds a bachelor's degree in History from The University of Belize.

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3 thoughts on “Paycation or Payscam: Belize’s New Certified Travel Agency

  • Iri

    I’m glad to see that I’m not the only Belizean who thinks this Paycation is a scam. Roughly 13 months ago, while job hunting I came across their job offer but decided to research the company first. It was a lot of pushing around from site to site trying to figure out which is the parent company due to so much re-directing of webpages from Paycation.

    I also checked the directory of the International Agencies which they claim to be accredited by and members of…and upon scrolling through the list, neither paycation nor xtreme travel were listed and for Belize there were only 2 certified travel agent companies listed ( Paycation/xtreme were not there)…Like I said, this was months ago & Idk if things changed, which I highly doubt. This was the point where I realize notn was legit.

    But at the end of the day, I don’t trust the company and everyone should be wise enough to know that If someone gives you a job, you shouldn’t have to pay them thousands or hundreds for you to start working. They are the ones who should pay YOU during training like normal jobs…it’s also in labour laws.

    Lastly, becoming a certified travel agent takes months not days. All these plus more raised red flags for me about Paycation.
    Learn your laws Belizeans, Wise up!

    That’s my 2 cents to this matter 😉

  • Tammy

    I was just reading the statement made above about Paycation. And I think that any Belizeans trying to do something for themselves no one should be negative. Xstream is a company that has been around for 14 years and they have bought two other companies in the travel business that has been around total together over 20 years. Xstream decided to share a business plan for the regular people like me and you to make money not always just big companies and they formed Paycation. No matter what type of work you do you have to put in the work to be successful. If you never worked for yourself or been an entrapernuer you will never understand the concept. Being a travel agent you are able to book trips anywhere and everywhere. So why wouldn’t you book trips for Belizeans to leave the country? All companies is only going to give you the basic about them. When you invest into becoming a travel agent you then are able to access into the travel world. No one knows exactly what a travel can do until you are one yourself. Maybe you need to look into someone website and talk with an actual Paycation Travel Consultant before you put your negative opinion out there. And also not every type of job, business, or work is for everyone. Belize has enough negativity with Politics let people who want to try to make money do that even if it is with Paycation. You only get out any job, work, or business what you put into it. Paycation is an Multi Level Marketing Business and if you never did one before you will never understand the concept. Also, it is the only MLM offering a 401K. and yes you can become an Executive and showing others how to do the same thing and on TOP OF THAT..SAVE MONEY TO TRAVEL….tell me where have you been lately and how much you paid? Don’t Hate and be NEGATIVE..I am a Travel Consulatant thru Paycation and I LOVE what I do and helping others ALL OVER THE WORLD even BELIZEANS is a GREAT feeling to see someone being successful. And if you want to join me ask me how and I can and will teach you