After a ten-month long mission, The Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors (ACITA) has secured a one-on-one meeting with Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra.
“Our team is very proud to have gotten this far, and it would have been impossible without the incredible community that surrounds us. We have worked very hard to gain his attention and to be recognized as a stakeholder,” said Brenda Slater, who co-founded ACITA with Judith Coates and Nancy Wilson.
Slater could not confirm to Open Jaw the date that the meeting would take place, noting that actual scheduling can sometimes change at the last minute. She said the virtual meeting will be led by the three co-founders of ACITA, where they will go over their presentation with a particular focus on Aid for Advisors.
“To all of our ACITA members who got the meetings booked, the advisors who showed up, everyone who supported us, sent emails, told their friends and the media who spread the word, it really does take a village. We are beyond grateful for this opportunity that you have all had a hand in creating,” said Slater.
Since the association was formed in June 2020, it has engaged in more than 185 Zoom meetings with MPs, policy advisors and senators as it advocates on behalf of all independent travel advisors. It is calling for the government to provide sector specific aid, to ensure independent advisors qualify for federal grant and loan programs and to ensure that commissions are protected as part of a bailout for the airline sector.
Since last NOV, the federal government has urged repeatedly that any airline aid will be contingent on airlines providing millions of dollars in refunds for cancelled tickets. That meant Canada’s travel advisors could be at risk of losing $200 million in commissions.
ACITA has celebrated several “wins” since the new year, as its cause gained more traction and recognition in the House of Commons. Last week, Members of Parliament passed a motion urging the government to introduce sector-specific support in its upcoming budget for hospitality and tourism workers, repayable loans for airlines and improved support programs for small and medium businesses, including travel agents.