More than 40,000 individuals, selling travel services to consumers, or providing advice about travel services, have met TICO’s Minimum Education Standard as a Travel Counsellor since July 2009 when TICO introduced Education Standards to the Ontario Travel Industry.
Travel Agent vs. Travel Agency
TICO differentiates between the two categories of travel agent and travel agency, which are often confused by some individuals, who believe that once they have passed TICO’s Travel Counsellor Education Standard they become a travel agent and can go out on their own and sell travel services. That is a myth.
In TICO’s eyes, a travel agent is a person (travel counsellor), and to be able to sell travel services in Ontario the travel agent has to have an association with a registered Ontario travel agency. That association can be ‘as an employee’, or ‘as a contractor’, or ‘as an outside sales representative’ or as a ‘home-based agent’.
In all cases there has to be a written agreement between the travel agent and travel agency.
By contrast a travel agency is an entity. It could be a corporation, or a partnership, or a sole proprietorship (an unincorporated individual).
Bricks & mortar
In all cases the criteria for registration as a travel agency has to be met. This includes having a bricks-and-mortar location; a qualified supervisor/manager; and meeting all of the Travel Industry Act financial criteria, which includes providing security, opening a trust account and meeting minimum working capital.
A travel agent or travel counsellor cannot act alone without being associated with a registered travel agency. The responsibility and actions of the travel agent rests with the registered travel agency.
The Education Study Manual and Ontario Regulation 26/05 can be downloaded from TICO’s website (tico.ca).