2017 – The Big Surprise
A viewpoint from TICO's Richard Smart
In our 20th year of operations, it is encouraging to observe the continued growth of the travel marketplace fueled no doubt by innovation, service excellence and the insatiable demand of consumers to travel.
Perhaps somewhat surprising is the resiliency of this growth despite the considerable headwinds faced by travel agencies and tour operators throughout this great province.
Geopolitical forces, economic volatility, politics (particularly south of the border), terrorism, and Mother Nature have all tried to constrain business performance this year, but largely to no avail.
The Ontario marketplace remains vibrant as evidenced, in part, by the number of new registrant applications received by TICO exceeding those leaving the marketplace (a first in a long time). The market as a whole is also growing in excess of 7% (measured by Ontario Sales), as we enter into the busy winter and spring break seasons.
Against this backdrop of a generally positive business environment, TICO remains committed to its three-year business plan.
During the year so far, we have collaborated with the government of Ontario, and industry, in a comprehensive review of Ontario’s travel legislation – the first in 15 years.This review has focused on enhancing consumer protection, while seeking reductions in regulatory burden on industry and improving the efficacy of the regulatory model. So far, so good.
Bill 166 (Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, 2017) is currently in front of the legislature, and if passed, represents sweeping change to Ontario’s travel legislation.
Stay tuned for our quarterly TICO Talk newsletter for a more detailed update on this review.
Also this year, TICO has introduced a refreshed website – www.tico.ca – which experienced a major modernization to help consumers and travel professionals understand our mandate, provide useful information and to provide other tools helpful to all.
The mobile version of our website has also received a significant revamp, along with our presence on social media. We are pleased with this new look, and so far, our website traffic has increased nicely.
2018 – The Next Big Thing
Meat On The Bones
Looking ahead, next year will no doubt be a busy one and will position Ontario for a new generation of consumer protection.
If passed, Bill 166 will require extensive work on the underlying Regulation providing the meat-on-the-bones. Further consumer and registrant consultation will be required to ensure we continue to hear and reflect and learn from feedback already received.
Both TICO and the Ontario government will be reaching out to you to obtain your insight as we move forward to implementation, most likely in 2019 and beyond.
I’m equally excited on another business plan objective that reflects the vital role our registrants serve with the consumer protection framework model.
Understanding TICO’s value proposition, particularly the drivers that influence how we operate and the services we provide is key to ensuring TICO is truly a progressive regulator. Work has already begun on this initiative; you should expect to hear and see much more in the months ahead.
As we close out 2017 and look to 2018, I am reminded of the challenges we all face and the immense opportunities that lie ahead.
It is important we continue to seek new and innovative means to contribute to our core mandate, but also to the community in which we serve.
At TICO, we are proud of our corporate social responsibility initiatives and accomplishments, and will continue our contributions to those less fortunate than us, and to the broader communities and environment around us.
From all of us at TICO, best wishes to you for a happy holiday season and prosperous New Year.