11 questions with Trevello’s Zeina Gedeon: Service fees, NCFs and more
Zeina Gedeon

“A barrier has been broken down”: TPI’s Zeina Gedeon and Heidi Hurst applaud commission protection

TORONTO — Zeina Gedeon is applauding the news about commission protection for travel agents after an “angst-ridden and frustrating” 14 months for the industry.

Following news of Air Canada’s financing deal with the federal government, which includes protection for travel agent commissions, Gedeon, CEO of TPI, says that advisors can now “breathe a little bit,” knowing that clients can receive their anticipated refunds while at the same time keep their hard-earned income.

“We welcome this new policy and want to thank everyone involved,” she says. “Many of our TPI advisors and our industry colleagues have spent endless hours learning how to navigate conversations with local politicians; they moved out of their comfort zones and stepped up. What a spectacular display of an industry coming together to have their voices heard.”

Gedeon also noted the “tremendous” efforts made by ACTA: “As our industry representatives, they have had our backs, fought tirelessly for several initiatives, lobbied government groups and continue to do so.”

And as for Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations, the latter announcing yesterday that it has also committed to protecting travel agent commissions, Gedeon also extended her deep appreciation for their ongoing support of the travel agent community.

“We see solid signs for recovery and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter every day. Still, the work towards recovery needs to continue and it remains critical to outline a robust recovery plan,” she added. “But for now, we celebrate and remember that collectively, we can – and will – implement change.”



Also celebrating the news is TPI agent Heidi Hurst, who started a Commission Recall Petition last December that was tabled in Parliament on Jan. 29 with close to 5,000 signatures from across Canada. Speaking to Travelweek this morning, she says that “months and months of work and meetings,” not only from agents but also supplier partners and the government, were invested into reaching this monumental decision. 

“We’re really amazed that such a fantastic supplier partner in Air Canada and ACV didn’t stop, they kept going to the table, they kept working with the government and the government kept listening and kept taking meetings with us,” says Hurst. “When these discussions about commission recalls first started, it seemed like it was something that the industry didn’t know how to do or change, and we found out that, yes, we can. It takes a lot of hard work but we can do this.”

Like Gedeon, Hurst notes that there’s more work ahead (“I know we have a lot of people chomping at the bit, thinking we’re going to get our money back, so we do have get working on that,” she says), but for now, she’s revelling in the moment.

“It is a breath of fresh air, it’s definitely a bright day and it really felt like a barrier has been broken down,” she says. “We just hope that the efforts that our other supplier partners have put in won’t go to waste and that they’ll continue to work on a solution as well for Canadian travellers, Canadian travel agents and, of course, all of our affected workers in the tourism industry.”

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