Here’s what happened when Ensemble’s CEO wrote to his MP
David Harris

Here’s what happened when Ensemble’s CEO called his MP

TORONTO — Ensemble Travel Group’s CEO is leading by example in the pursuit of government aid for the travel industry.

David Harris, who leads Ensemble’s 700 travel agencies and thousands of employees, has been very vocal about his support of advocacy efforts through organizations like ACTA, WTTC and more. As part of ACTA’s ongoing letter-writing campaign, Harris recently reached out to his own MP, Terry Dowdall, to discuss the urgent situation facing the travel industry.

Dowdall, who represents the riding of Simcoe-Grey in Ontario, acknowledged their conversation in an unsolicited Facebook post in which he expressed his own concerns and disappointment regarding the lack of response from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and senior federal Ministers.

After noting that Harris had contacted the Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, Mélanie Joly, Jean-Yves Duclos, Bill Blair and other ministers in July, and that none of them responded, Dowdall went on to write:

“David’s recommendations are well-thought-out and logical. They involve clarity around borders and quarantine requirements, ideas around severance and wage subsidies, and ideas about restarting the travel industry in the short- and longer-term.

“The government should be reaching out to people like David on how to get this important industry back on its feet. But instead, we have travel agents closing shop, hotels struggling to stay afloat and airline employees spending more time at home than in the air.

“If someone like David, who represents thousands of workers in the travel industry, can’t even get a reply from this government, I worry about what a plan looks like for this industry.”

Dowdall’s message came one day before the ‘Throne Speech,’ made by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, from the Throne in Parliament on Sept. 23. In her speech, Payette formally suggested “support” for the Canadian travel industry, which has yet to be voted on by Parliament. But as Harris notes, experience shows that even if it is, it is not likely to include the agency distribution channel but will instead focus on specifics for airlines and hotels.

According to Ensemble, Harris will continue to encourage its members to participate in the grassroots efforts of ACTA and other trade organizations as “he believes these efforts are critical to restarting travel and to ensure that the travel agency community is included in any additional relief/support efforts.”

Travel Week Logo

Get travel news right to your inbox!