TICO Marks 25th As It Celebrates Its Achievements
Hard to believe, but the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) celebrated its 25th anniversary of providing consumer protection to Ontario travellers during its virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) this week (June 28).
During the AGM, officials shared the organization’s key achievements from the previous fiscal year, with a key theme of the event focussing on the resiliency of the travel industry.
Richard Smart, TICO’s President and CEO, observed that: “While the entire travel ecosystem is shifting and re-inventing itself, an expectation for a fair and balanced consumer protection framework remains vital.”
And Smart continued: “The Ontario travel marketplace is resilient and will continue to grow. It is important for consumers and business to experience a fair, informed, and balanced market, within a regulatory environment, where businesses thrive, and consumers are protected.”
The updates from Michael Levinson, TICO’s Chair and Richard Smart, TICO’s President and CEO focussed on three key topics:
- Twenty-five years of consumer protection – TICO began its operations in June 1997. Since then, TICO has supported consumer protection for travellers by promoting a fair, safe and informed travel marketplace. One of TICO’s overarching messages has always been, and continues to be, to share the benefits of purchasing travel from a TICO registered business.
Over the past 25 years, TICO has:
- Answered 115,656 consumer enquiries via emails, phone calls and walk-ins
- Closed 6,594 written consumer complaints o Facilitated $4,962,172 in restitution between registrants and consumers
- Paid $14,880,349 from the Compensation Fund to assist 24,037 consumers
- Repatriated 4,266 consumers stranded in destination o Conducted 46,155 bench reviews of registrants’ financial records, along with 11,105 site inspections
- Issued 2,675 warnings to unregistered operators
- Adjusting to the ‘new normal’ – the COVID-19 pandemic has been an exceptionally challenging time for Ontario’s travel agencies, websites and tour operators. While consumer confidence has increased in recent months, TICO is mindful of the current economic environment and its impact on registrants.
- Commitment to a fair funding model – Since the beginning of the pandemic, TICO registrants have had their registration fees and Compensation Fund contributions waived, thanks to funding provided to TICO by the Ontario government. TICO held consultations last fall about a future funding framework. We heard from the industry that the proposed approach needed to be reconsidered. TICO is committed to further Page 2 of 2 industry consultation to develop a fair funding model that reflects the principles of cost recovery, that delivers value to stakeholders, and that is consistent with the laws of Ontario.
The AGM provided an opportunity to announce TICO’s Board of Directors for fiscal year 2022/2023. The following individuals were appointed to TICO’s Board of Directors:
- Doug Ellison – Elected representative (by acclamation)
- Monica Johnstone – Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA)
The AGM was also an opportunity to recognize the commitment and impact of two outgoing Directors:
- Rocky Racco
- Leanna Villella
A recording of the AGM will be made available on TICO’s YouTube channel and website.
For more information about TICO’s activities, please view the Annual Report for fiscal year 2021/2022 and the Business Plan for 2022-2025.
Go to www.tico.ca for more.