Wendy Paradis, ACTA.
Judith Coates, Brenda Slater and Nancy Wilson
The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) is sounding the alarm for travel agents and travel agencies following the federal government’s “devastating” announcement. Urgent federal aid is critical to ensure the survival of travel agencies, it says.
“Without enhanced and urgent aid, and protection against commission recall there will be imminent business closures and bankruptcies among travel agencies and independent contractors – as we have been warning the federal government,” says Wendy Paradis, President, ACTA. “However, as we have been stating for months to the federal government, travel agencies and travel agents cannot survive the brunt of about $200 million in recall commission on cancelled and refunded bookings related to the COVID-19 crisis.”
ACTA reiterated its message to the government that any aid given to an airline or tour operator must include funding to cover travel agent recall commissions, and for a fund to cover past bookings already recalled.
“We require immediate and focused discussions with the government to ensure not only the safety of Canadians and travellers — but of our travel businesses,” says Paradis. “Travel agencies and travel agents need aid now. Our industry has been effectively shut down.”
Nancy Wilson, co-founder of the Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors, called out the government’s lack of detail when announcing its measures.
“We have been patiently waiting for his impending announcement that has been teased for weeks, initialized at the beginning of the year. While we welcome a decision, we were hoping for a detailed plan. We again find ourselves disappointed with the lack of information, as well as the thought processes that went into this decision making,” she said in a statement.
She is hopeful that this will bring the urgency of sector aid to travel advisors and agencies to the forefront.
“Airline staff and all related sectors are now in critical need for support to survive. While they recognized airlines will need aid, no announcements on that leaves us again scrambling, and concerned for the future of our businesses. Independent advisors, as well as travel advisors in storefront agencies, and travel agency owners are at a greater risk today of shutting their doors for good, and the work we have ahead of us is paramount to ensure we can limit those closures as much as possible.”
Brenda Slater, one of ACITA’s co-founders and co-owner of Beyond the Beach Travel Agency encouraged fellow agents to follow the news to arm themselves with the knowledge that their clients need.
“It is astounding to me that advisors are not listening to the news from its source, with regards to the new travel restrictions being put in place. There seems to be an extreme amount of uncertainty even within our own community,” she said.
Mark Stachiew Editor
Mark Stachiew is a Montreal-based travel journalist who’s been exploring and writing about the world for more than 30 years. When he’s not travelling somewhere or grappling with words on a page, he curates his own collection of travel gear.