Clearly 2021 didn’t start the way the industry had hoped for, in fact, ACTA said that the new year brought another blow to travel agents and the industry with the federal government announcing a pre-boarding testing requirement and giving the industry only a week to prepare.
ACTA president Wendy Paradis said: “This latest development has put travel agents in an even more precarious situation and ACTA cannot stress enough the acute need for urgent financial support for Travel Agents and the entire travel industry including airlines, airports, tour operators and travel agencies.”
The industry association is calling on the government to reconsider this new mandatory requirement that does not remove or reduce the 14-day quarantine.
Said Paradis: “A far better solution for Canadians and the industry would be to test on arrival.”
ACTA has been advocating to the government for months to work with industry to develop a well thought out, science -based program for rapid testing that would keep Canadians safe and reduce the 14-day quarantine.
ACTA’s president noted that: “We had seen some progress with the pilot projects taking place across the country in late 2020 with testing in Canadian airports and today it was rolled out in Toronto, but on a voluntary basis and it does not at this time replace the new testing requirement in destination, which we believe would be a far better solution.”
ACTA pointed out in its statement that the extremely tight deadline to ensure that airlines have processes in place and for travel agents to notify clients already in transit about the new requirements are unrealistic and have created chaos for travellers and the industry.
“This new requirement is yet another blow to travel agents who are seeing any possible bookings from clients evaporate as they express concern and cancel,” said Paradis.
In 2021, ACTA’s priorities include:
- Finding better alternatives to testing and 14- day quarantines
- Commission recall costs to be covered in any airline aid package
- Liquidity assistance – new HASCAP loan program that still has not launched
- Extension of the CRB for Independent Travel Agents to the end of June, 2021
- Extension of the 75% wage subsidy to minimum June 30, 2021
- The inclusion of the 25% top-up benefit in the rent subsidy program
ACTA is working directly with senior government directors and policy advisors on these critical issues and will need ongoing support in 2021 from all travel agencies, independent travel advisors and travel agents.
Go to www.acta.ca for more.