ACTA is launching a six-point plan in support of travel agencies, making it clear to the federal government that as 2021 approaches, the travel industry will remain in a dire financial situation – facing devastation and widespread bankruptcies -without further government support.
The plan that ACTA has presented to the federal government includes the following recommendations:
- Increase to CEWS to the 85% level
- Amendments to CERS to 90%
- An extension to CRB to June 30, 2021
- Inclusion in any airline aid package
- A proposed travel industry subsidy to assist with fixed expenses, and amendments to BCAP so Travel Agencies would be eligible.
- A plan for the government to work with industry to develop clear criteria for re-opening borders and future travel advisories when it is safe to do so, including a travel incentive program.
And ACTA is also alerting the government that the recent announcement by the Minister of Transport that any airline aid package is contingent on passenger refunds, has put travel agencies, travel agents and independent contractors in a precarious situation due to airlines and other travel suppliers recalling commissions paid long ago.
The industry association points out that these commissions have already been used by agencies to pay expenses including wages, rent and other fixed expenses — and in the case of independent contractors, to pay for groceries, mortgages and rent.
Wendy Paradis, president of ACTA, said: “We appreciate that all stakeholders in the travel eco-system have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and a sector-wide approach to support is needed — especially as the recent announcement by the Minister of Transport that the government is working on an airline aid package that is contingent on passenger refunds.”
ACTA notes that the estimate for a commission recall from all Canadian travel agencies and independent contractors totals $200 million and would result in the bankruptcies of most travel agencies.
Of further concern, ACTA points out is that airlines have direct access to remove funds from a travel agency’s bank account and that if agencies dispute this, they can be blocked from making bookings on any airline worldwide.
To protect its members, ACTA is asking the government to step in, and provide travel agencies with a grant to cover recall of commission – or, include additional funding and a condition that travel agency commissions on airline and tour packages cannot be recalled.
Said Paradis: “We must ensure that the government understands the critical position that travel agents and travel agencies are in.”
ACTA needs agencies and agents to help reinforce the need for continued financial relief and the impact to your business of commission recalls and they can do this by contacting their local MP either by email or phone. ACTA has a letter template and telephone script available on its website
The association is also encouraging the industry to participate in its social media campaign, sharing ACTA posts on LinkedIn and retweeting ACTA messages on Twitter.
For those members not using Twitter, ACTA is encouraging them to join and to follow ACTA and retweet posts along with their own tweets about issues of concern. Twitter is an important forum for lobbying efforts.