TICO Marks 25th Anniversary at Annual General Meeting

Richard Smart, TICO President and CEO
Richard Smart, TICO President and CEO

The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) held its virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 28JUN 2022 to share the organization’s key achievements from the previous fiscal year and also served to recognize its 25th anniversary.

A key theme at the AGM was the resiliency of the travel industry: “While the entire travel eco system is shifting and re-inventing itself, an expectation for a fair and balanced consumer protection framework remains vital,” said Richard Smart, TICO’s President and CEO. “The Ontario travel marketplace is resilient and will continue to grow. It is important for consumers and business to experience a fair, informed, and balanced market, within a regulatory environment, where businesses thrive, and consumers are protected.”

The updates from Michael Levinson, TICO’s Chair, and Smart at the AGM focused on three key topics:

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Twenty-five years of consumer protection

TICO began its operations in JUN 1997. Since then, TICO has supported consumer protection for travellers by promoting a fair and informed travel marketplace. One of TICO’s overarching messages has always been, and continues to be, to share the benefits of purchasing travel from a TICO registered business. Over the past 25 years, TICO has:

  • Answered 115,656 consumer enquiries via emails, phone calls and walk-ins
  • Closed 6,594 written consumer complaints
  • Facilitated CAD $4,962,172 in restitution between registrants and consumers
  • Paid CAD $14,880,349 from the Compensation Fund to assist 24,037 consumers
  • Repatriated 4,266 consumers stranded in destination
  • Conducted 46,155 bench reviews of registrants’ financial records, along with 11,105 site inspections
  • Issued 2,675 warnings to unregistered operators

Adjusting to the ‘new normal’

TICO notes the COVID-19 pandemic has been an “exceptionally challenging time” for Ontario’s travel agencies, websites and tour operators. While consumer confidence has “increased” in recent months, TICO says it is mindful of the current economic environment and its impact on registrants.

Commitment to a fair funding model

Since the beginning of the pandemic, TICO registrants have had their registration fees and Compensation Fund contributions waived, thanks to funding provided to TICO by the Ontario government. TICO held consultations last fall about a future funding framework. Based on industry feedback, TICO notes its originally proposed approach “needed to be reconsidered.”

TICO added that it is open further industry consultation to develop a fair funding model that reflects the principles of “cost recovery, that delivers value to stakeholders, and that is consistent with the laws of Ontario.”

The AGM provided an opportunity to announce TICO’s Board of Directors for fiscal year 2022/2023. The following individuals were appointed to TICO’s Board of Directors:

  • Doug Ellison – Elected representative (by acclamation)
  • Monica Johnstone – Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA)

The AGM was also an opportunity to recognize the commitment and impact of two outgoing Directors:

  • Rocky Racco
  • Leanna Villella

A recording of the AGM will be made available on TICO’s YouTube channel and web site.

For more information on TICO, visit its web site.

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