CATO Takes Aim At Key Issues

Three major initiatives were the focus of discussions at CATO’s annual general meeting last week.

Those issues included CATO’s advocacy efforts, the rebranding and development of a new website and a community hub for members.

On the issue of advocacy, discussions focused on the fact that as well as working diligently on its own advocacy efforts, CATO has served on the Hardest Hit Coalition as well as the steering committee of the Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable.

The culmination of all these efforts was the tabling this week of Bill C-2, An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19 in the House of Commons which includes the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP).

While the Bill isn’t perfect, CATO is pleased the Liberal Government has followed through on its commitments. However, as there is some opposition to the Bill, CATO continues to pressure all parties and all sides of the debate to insure the Bill receives Royal Ascent without delay.

In terms of rebranding, CATO notes that over the past few years, it has changed and continues to change.

CATO’s rebranding includes six pillars or principles – inclusion, access and equity as well as being progressive, representative and cooperative – together they are the basis for CATO’s mission and vision going forward.

With this year’s appointments of Stéphanie Bishop as Vice Chair and Joanne Dhue as CATO’s appointed TICO Director, the executive better represents the 73% of females that make up tour operators’ workforce.

Rounding out the CATO executive team is Brett Walker, Chair; Richard Edwards, Treasurer and Nicole Bursey, CATO appointed TICO Director.

The association also pointed out that these principles were not well represented in many of CATO’s older assets including its current website. So, CATO is in the midst of developing an entirely new website and community hub for members. This community hub will support CATO’s advocacy and research while also hosting educational opportunities and facilitating member forums.

The expected launch date of the new website and community hub for members is mid-February 2022.

And in its effort to strive toward being more inclusive, more accessible and more representative CATO is simplifying and reducing its fee structure.

The membership fee for tour operators under 10 million in gross Canada sales is now $800. The membership fee for tour operators with 10 million in gross Canada sales or higher will be $2,000. It’s hoped this new fee structure will encourage even more tour operators to join.

To further accommodate existing and prospective members during this difficult time, CATO is also deferring any payment of fees for the 2022 membership year until July 1, 2022.

The association has also unveiled a new logo.