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Make sure your voice is heard!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Make sure your voice is heard!

The entire travel industry is suffering and in need of government help. Without it, many companies and individuals won’t be there when the recovery happens.

Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel now with vaccines starting to be rolled out, rapid testing available, signs that by spring or summer 2021 things will be vastly improved from where we are now. But meanwhile, we need help to make it through.

There are several ways that each and every one of us can help!

How YOU can get involved!

ACTA has made scripts available for travel agents and independent contractors and agency owners to call and write to their MP and their MPP and explain the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel agencies. Explain how commission recalls have made the situation even worse.

When it comes to getting the government’s ear – numbers are important! If every single travel agent calls their MP and their MPP and writes letters the government will be more aware of the plight of the industry and aware that travel agents are an integral part of the travel industry – so that when they consider airline aid packages, they recognize that travel agents must be acknowledged too.

ACITA (the Association of Canadian Independent Travel Agents) has also been conducting a grassroots campaign and getting some attention.

Government programs available

There have been some wins so far – and ACTA deserves a lot of credit for lobbying hard with the federal government and provincial governments since March 2020 asking for extensions of the various subsidies and measures because the travel industry is one of the hardest hit industries.

The recent Fall Economic Statement included the following ‘wins’ for travel agents and travel agencies:

  • The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) is extended to March and needs more lobbying to be extended to June 2021. Thousands of travel agents currently rely on this.
  • Increase the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to 75% to March 13, 2021.
  • The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) program extended at the current 65% base rate through to March 13, 2021.
  • Creation of the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) with 100% government-guaranteed loans for businesses including travel agencies providing low-interest loans of up to $1 million for up to 10 years.
  • The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program will be expanded, allowing access to an additional interest-free $20,000 loan, with half of this additional amount forgivable if repaid by Dec. 31, 2022.

Don’t just sit back and expect others to do it for you!

Jill Wykes
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