For those who posted that they knew the decision to include tips in the cost of the trip was made in advance of the survery, how? If true then GCT/OAT has certainly rounded a corner into a downhill slide.
Tipping is an infection , we Americans, have spread around the globe. I have no problem giving someone who does me a service a few extra dollars as a Thank You. I do object to being REQUIRED to tip (a) in advance and (b) for what is often poor service. With few expections I've found local guides to be very poor. Sticking to a memorized script and unable to answer questions travelers pose that may be more indepth or detailed than they can handle. Then , of course, are the local guides who drone on and on paying no attention to the discomfort of seniors STANDING on cobblestone streets in a downpour.
Companies should pay their employees a living wage, it's as simple as that.
Yes, large cruise lines are adding tips in advance. However, you can refuse though few do.
I think the bus driver and porter tips should be included, but local guides left to the discretion of the traveler. There's no doubt that the tip money not spent will wind up in the pocket of the TL, regional supervisor or OAT/GCT.
We all know the cost of everything is going up and up, but service has not kept pace. OAT/GCT runs the risk of alienating it's most loyal customers if it makes decisions effecting their wallets and then asks for their opinion.