CRB, EI extensions welcome news but more needs to be done to help retail travel sector: ACTA

ACTA’s call for agencies, agents to support its efforts

TORONTO — ACTA is asking all travel agents, independent contractors and travel agency owners to consider joining ACTA now, so that ACTA can continue to lobby on behalf of all travel agents and travel agencies.

“Individual companies cannot effectively lobby governments or regulators. You need to organize to be heard. Yes, individual voices do also play a part in the lobbying efforts, but having one voice speak for the industry is essential,” says ACTA President, Wendy Paradis.

As if 2020 wasn’t bad enough, the situation for the travel industry got even worse as the year ended, with the Dec. 30 announcement about the pre-arrival negative PCR test requirement that went into effect Jan. 7.

The new testing requirement, coupled with rising anti-travel public sentiment over the holiday break and into the new year, has made for a one-two punch for an industry that is already teetering on the brink due to the pandemic and the travel restrictions that were already in place.

The industry continues to be in crisis and travel agencies and travel agents have incurred staggering losses, says Paradis, adding that travel agents will need continued aid and support from governments and regulators for some time to come before a full recovery is possible.

Brian Robertson, President, Canada West, Direct Travel Inc., offered his take on the situation.

“If ever there was a time for a travel agency association to prove its worth, it was in 2020 and ACTA worked tirelessly throughout the year to bring aid and relief to travel agencies and agents,” said Robertson.

“That work needs to continue as the government restrictions on travel continue – the latest being a requirement for a negative COVID test for all returning passengers.”

Standing together as a travel agency and travel agent community is key to receiving the much-needed recognition and financial support from the Canadian and Provincial governments – as well as the regulators, says Paradis.

ACTA will need to continue its intense lobbying efforts into 2021 to urge governments to recognize the delayed recovery of the travel industry and give extended supports, she added.

“We know that all travel agencies and travel agents are having to prioritize spending due to dramatically reduced revenues. But ACTA cannot exist without its members and we know that all travel agencies and travel agents have benefitted from our lobbying efforts in 2020,” said Paradis.

She added: “We are asking every travel agency and travel agent to please consider joining ACTA now, so that we can continue to fight for you in 2021.”

Paradis outlines the benefits of ACTA membership, including:

  • Advocacy – ACTA will continue its intense lobbying efforts through 2021 and continue urging governments to recognize that the recovery of the travel industry will be slower than many others. We are lobbying to reduce the 14-day quarantine and ease travel advisory restrictions– in a safe and measured way.
  • Education and Certification – There are a wide variety of training and certification opportunities throughout the year aimed at growing your business and improving selling skills.   Learn more at http://acta.ca/education.
  • Connecting the Travel Industry – ACTA will continue to provide innovative ways to connect the industry through virtual events and other social gatherings, until in-person events are possible again.
  • Promoting agents to consumers –  ACTA’s social media links include FacebookInstagramLinkedin and Twitter. ACTA’s consumer website is www.Bookwithatravelagent.ca
  • ACTA Memberperks Program – ACTA members personally saved thousands of dollars in 2020 through the Memberperks program. At https://acta.venngo.com ACTA members can create an account to save on over 3,000 retailers, health and wellness, restaurants and travel.
  • Money saving tools for businesses, including:
  • Credit card processing offering savings on merchant fees
  • PCI compliance using ACTA’s online tool
  • ACTA Protect insurance program with savings on employee benefits, independent travel agents operating their own business, home/auto and E&0 coverage.

More details can be found here.