TORONTO — Three-quarters of Canada’s travel agents, ITAs and travel agencies say they could face insolvency if the government doesn’t extend financial aid programs until the end of 2021, or until 90 days after travel restrictions are lifted, according to a new ACTA survey.
After calling on travel agents, ITAs and travel agencies across Canada to fill out its quick 5-minute survey earlier this month, ACTA has revealed the sobering results.
More than 1,000 respondents took part in the survey, including 58% who were Independent Travel Agents, 31% owners and 11% employees.
Here are some of the stats:
- If government relief programs are not extended beyond June 2021, 18% of respondents will not be able to continue to pay ongoing expenses for more than one month. This percentage increases to 54% beyond three months and by six months the number is 75%.
- 34% will not be able to stay in business without sustained access to Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Relief Subsidy CERS.
- 61% will not be able to stay in business without sustained access to Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and Employment Insurance (EI) through to the end of 2021.
- 16% of respondents stated they will not be able to stay in business without access to HASCAP.
Says ACTA President Wendy Paradis: “With the federal budget being tabled on April 19, 2021, we need to let the government know how critical the situation is for travel agencies, travel agents and independent travel agents, citing specific data from our survey.”
Paradis added: “The results highlight the sustainability issues of our sector without continued and enhanced access to government relief programs both federally and provincially while travel restrictions remain in place.”
When asked what would government programs and policies would best help keep travel agencies and travel agents in business,
The number one concern from survey respondents – eased somewhat in the days since with the April 12 announcement by Air Canada and the federal government – was commission recalls.
The next most-cited concern was the extension of CRB/EI, CEWS and CERS and the need for a plan to re-open travel – including borders and reducing the hotel quarantine program and the 14-day quarantines. Other recommendations included HST forgiveness and the extension of the CEBA loan repayment schedule.
The government has also asked ACTA for additional feedback on the HASCAP loan program to understand if it is working for those it was intended for – the hardest hit businesses including the travel industry.
ACTA says that of the small percentage of respondents (7%) who that applied for HASCAP, 24% were successful with twice the number, 54%, unsuccessful. Some 93% did not apply for HASCAP, with 43% of those respondents stating that they were concerned with amassing more debt, and 33% stating they didn’t think they qualified.
“ACTA, along with a number of other industry associations we are collaborating with, will continue to advocate for an extension of all aid programs – CEWS, CERS, CRB/EI and the HASCAP loan program — until the end of this year,” said Paradis.
Paradis added that when it comes to provincial grant / loan programs, of the list of provincial funding programs provided, the majority of ACTA survey respondents (84%) did not receive funds. Out of that segment of respondents, 28% did not apply and 31% didn’t apply because they were not eligible.