On 11JUN, the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) and the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) sent a joint letter to key leaders in both governments, asking that both countries make opening the border and safely restarting travel between the U.S. and Canada an immediate priority.
The letter, addressed to Canadian Ministers of Transport and Health, Omar Alghabra and Patty Hajdu, and U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, outlines the impact of the pandemic on travel agencies and advisors in both countries.
The average travel agency business income in the U.S. was down 82 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019.
Canada, subject to some of the strictest travel restrictions in the world, saw travel agency revenue plummet 95 per cent, with over 800 storefront travel agencies forced to permanently close
The associations’ letter further points out that due to industry compensation structure, there will be a substantial time lag – they anticipate eight months’ delay – between a return of travel bookings and a corresponding return of business income.
“While securing additional financial relief for our members from our respective governments remains the top priority for both associations,” reads the letter, “responsibly reopening travel between our two great countries is a critical needed step in order for meaningful recovery of the travel agency sector to occur.”
“We stand ready to work with you and your staff to develop a plan to clearly spell out how and when we will restart travel between Canada and the U.S., with the objective of releasing it prior to June 21, when the existing Canadian border measures are set to potentially be renewed.”