Connect, Inspire, Grow With ACTA
The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) started its three-city national tour yesterday as over 500 participants attended the 2023 Eastern Canada Travel Industry Summit at the Toronto Congress Centre.
Due to strong support from suppliers, the full-day travel trade show has expanded this year with 90+ exhibitors from every industry sector networking at the two-hour Grand Trade Show held in the afternoon. In addition, the major destination sponsor, Visit Portugal along with regional partners from Azores, Lisbon, Porto, Alentejo, TAP Air Portugal and SATA Azores Airlines showcased Portuguese experiences during the hosted lunch with a toast of port wine and an audience interactive contest attached with trip prizes.
In her opening address, Wendy Paradis, president of ACTA stressed the importance of attracting travel advisors to the industry due to the acute labour shortage that the travel industry has been facing, and hence, this year’s theme: Connect. Inspire. Grow.
Unlike last year, when the main issue addressed in the introductory remarks by Paradis was togetherness and rebuilding the travel economy after the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the underlying message was protecting travel professionals from economic hardships and the duty of care.
“The name itself is less important than the contract that you have with your client. Prior to the pandemic, people really didn’t pay close attention, or as close attention as they needed to and some of you the impact of the pandemic, especially if you work with net fares, or if you work with groups, that you have to pay 10s of 1000s of dollars, back to clients,” says Paradis to a packed house of travel agents, industry partners and key stakeholder suppliers, stressing how members can view a 40 minute webinar on the ACTA website on how travel professionals can easily protect themselves.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
ACTA’s president also told her audience that the association has a name change, and will be called, Association of Canadian Travel Agencies and Travel Advisors as the industry continues to evolve in a changing landscape, modernizing it to be more reflective of ACTA members.
“For almost 50 years now, travel agencies have been our members, and their travel agents, and employees,” she said and added, “and one of our growing areas today are sole proprietorships so we thought it would be a great idea to change our name, to better reflect ACTA members.”
ACTA Summit emcee Ryan McElroy, CEO and founder of Travel Agency Tribes, a B2B2C travel technology company, provided commentary and introduced guest speakers for the event’s two panel discussions. Attendees heard Andrew Grantham, Executive Director and Senior Economist at CIBC and well known TV personality share latest forecasts for the Canadian economy and how it affects travel. In the second session, a travel industry leader panel dove into the latest trends and strategies for 2024.
There was a hefty menu of education breakout sessions – five — that addressed such topics as maximizing your sales with new strategies and tool kits; how advisors can use AI to save time and make money; how to prioritize wellness; why cruising is off the charts; and Jean Pierre Faubert, senior manager, sales enablement at Air Canada, discussing how to deliver to collective customers with updates on the Aeroplan program as one example.
After the back-to-back morning sessions, there was a networking lunch that was followed by the keynote presentation “Tapping into Global Travel Trends To Grow Your Business” from Pam Hoffee, president of Avalon Waterways, who shared global travel trends.
Before the networking cocktail reception that gave attendees a chance to rub shoulders and reconnect with fellow industry colleagues, participants gathered for the ACTA awards. The awards recognize the achievements of members who have set new standards of excellence.
The ACTA summits are complimentary for ACTA members. Non-ACTA members are encouraged to contribute $50 to the Advocacy Fund. The premier sponsor of the Summits is Air Canada and major sponsors are Globus, Manulife and Marriott International. Additional Summits will be held in Richmond, B.C. at the River Rock Casino Resort on September 21 and at the Centre de congres Palace in Laval, Quebec on September 27.
Watch for more in an upcoming issue of Canadian Travel Press.