Devastated. Disappointed. Need relief now.
That pretty much summarizes the industry’s response to the new travel restrictions that the federal government announced last Friday (Jan. 29) that essentially sees Canada’s travel industry shutdown for the second time in less than a year.
In sounding the alarm, ACTA called the new restrictions — that see Canada’s major airlines agreeing to suspend all flights to the Caribbean and Mexico (Transat is actually suspending all of its flights) until April 30 – “absolutely devastating.”
ACTA president, Wendy Paradis said: “The news of earlier today with respect to the suspension of flying to the Caribbean and Mexico as well as significant related restrictions is absolutely devastating for all sectors within the travel industry – from airlines to hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, travel agents, independent contractors and all other businesses that rely on tourism.”
Paradis continued: “Without enhanced and urgent aid, and protection against commission recall there will be imminent business closures and bankruptcies among travel agencies and independent contractors – as we have been warning the federal government.”
And she continued: “However, as we have been stating for months to the federal government, travel agencies and travel agents cannot survive the brunt of about $200 million in recall commission on cancelled and refunded bookings related to the COVID-19 crisis.”
Paradis said that: “ACTA reinforced the impact of these latest travel restrictions to the Federal Government again today and reinforced our message that any aid given to an airline or tour operator MUST include funding to cover travel agent recall commissions, and for a FUND to cover past bookings already recalled.”
She noted as well that while, of course, ACTA understands the importance of protecting the health of Canadians, the impact of the new measures of suspended flights, new testing on arrival on top of the pre-boarding testing, mandatory hotel quarantines and other initiatives will further delay any meaningful recovery for the entire industry.
Said Paradis: “We require immediate and focused discussions with the government to ensure not only the safety of Canadians and travelers –but of our travel businesses,” she said. “Travel agencies and travel agents need aid now. Our industry has been effectively shut down.”
Go to http://www.acta.ca/
NACC: Wants Action, Collaboration With Government On Recovery Strategy
The National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) called on the federal government to take immediate action and provide financial support to airlines, as well as work with the sector to develop an aviation recovery strategy.
Mike McNaney, president and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada, said: “We recognize the statements made by the government today that a healthy aviation sector is critical to Canada and our economy, and that the government is committed to working with the sector on a true recovery strategy that incorporates a science-based approach to testing and quarantine measures, and that the government is also committed to providing sectoral support for the industry overall.”
McNaney continued: “We need to ensure we take substantive action soon. Countries that have a true recovery strategy in place for their aviation sectors will be the best positioned to ensure the safe restart of their economy, to bring back jobs and investment and to successfully compete and take market share from countries that are not well prepared.”
And NACC’s boss concluded: “There is a great deal at stake in the coming months and we look forward to engagement with the government on a clear and substantive sectoral recovery strategy.” McNaney concluded.
Go to www.airlinecouncil.ca for more.
ACITA: Detailed Plan Missing In Feds Announcement
In its response, the Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors (ACITA) said: “We have been patiently waiting for his impending announcement that has been teased for weeks, initialized at the beginning of the year. While we welcome a decision, and were hoping for a detailed plan, we again find ourselves disappointed with the lack of information, as well as the thought processes that went into this decision making.”
ACITA noted that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “opened his statement, recognizing that only 2% of cases has been brought about by travel, yet has again directed all his measures to protect Canadians from this virus, by restricting travel. With only a cancellation of flights to Caribbean destinations, we feel this has not addressed the seriousness of the issues with Community spread or provided additional support to the Provinces to get this spread under control, where the majority of the issues are, not to mention that the majority of critical issues with this virus are not originating in Caribbean destinations.”
Said ACITA: “We are however, hopeful that this will bring the urgency of sector aid to the forefront, for all of our businesses affected by these cancellations. Airline staff and all related sectors are now in critical need for support to survive. While they recognized airlines will need aid, no announcements on that leaves us again scrambling, and concerned for the future of our businesses. Independent Advisors, as well as Travel Advisors in storefront agencies, and Travel Agency Owners are at a greater risk today of shutting their doors for good, and the work we have ahead of us is paramount to ensure we can limit those closures as much as possible.”
The association concluded its statement, observing: “It was encouraging to hear, for the first time, from Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, travel agents mentioned, regarding sector aid. We will look at this as a positive step forward, and as an opportunity to further dialogue on the urgent need for commission protection with any bailout packages.”
Go to https://acita.ca/ for more.