TORONTO — The good news? Government restrictions have finally started to ease and Canadians are looking to travel again. The bad news? Many travel agencies are unable to keep up with demand due to labour shortages.
According to ACTA, the shortage of experienced travel agents is expected to be a significant issue for Canada’s retail travel industry in the months and years to come.
Citing Stats Canada, Wendy Paradis, ACTA president says travel agents were the most impacted labour group by COVID-19 over the past two years.
“As consumer confidence builds and travel demand picks up, we are going to need to attract more travel agents to our industry,” she says.
Labour shortage is not a new issue for travel agencies. In fact, in 2019, prior to the pandemic, ACTA travel agency members identified it as one of the key issues facing the industry. As such, in 2019 ACTA worked with its members to update the Travel Agent National Occupation Standards, and developed an entry level online training program for new travel agents based on these standards.
Over the past few years, ACTA has also met with travel supplier partners and industry regulators to discuss travel agent standards and key customer service issues that consumers have identified when dealing with an agent.
TRAVEL AGENT ESSENTIALS PROGRAM
Since the emergence of COVID-19 in 2020, ACTA has used the time to refine the Travel Agent Essentials online training program. Designed to help new entrants achieve their Certified Travel Counsellor-CTC and Certified Travel Manager-CTM designations, the updated program covers all the core fundamentals of travel, including travel agency operations, air travel, ground transportation, cruising and land accommodation and packages.
The updated English language program is available now, while the French language program will be available by March 31, 2022.
“With 100% of training provided online, participants learn and study at their own pace, in their own place,” adds Paradis.
ACTA is hosting a webinar on Travel Agent Essentials on March 29 (English) and March 31 (French). To register, click here.