TORONTO — ACTA is sending out an urgent call for travel agent feedback on the financial sustainability of the retail travel sector and what it will look like without expanded and enhanced aid past June.
Currently the CEWS and CERS programs are set to expire in June and ACTA has been lobbying extensively for extensions to those programs through the end of 2021.
ACTA President Wendy Paradis says the survey will provide insight for the federal government into the success of the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) loan to see if it is working for those it was intended for: the hardest hit businesses.
She says ACTA is also looking to identify the roadblocks or gaps with accessing funding by travel agencies and independent travel agent businesses to both federal and provincial financial relief programs.
“This is essential as the data is invaluable during our critical advocacy activities underway leading up to the release of the federal budget on April 19,” says Paradis.
“But we need to have the data urgently,” she added. “it will only take 5 minutes to complete and we are asking all agency owners and independent travel agents to complete the survey before the end of this week.”
All agency owners, independent agents and travel agents can access the survey here:
Paradis says ACTA had a productive meeting last week with Transport Minister Omar Alghabra. Ahead of the April 19 federal budget, ACTA’s priorities and asks include:
- Extension and expansion of the CEWS and CERS programs
- Extension of the CRB and EI programs
- Easier accessibility to liquidity within the HASCAP loan program
- Protection of travel agency / travel agent commission from recall with mandatory consumer refunds
Says Paradis: “Minister Alghabra acknowledged that travel has been hit hardest for a variety of reasons including government measures and restrictions. He agrees that where initially a broad brush was used for financial aid supports for all, it is clear now there is a continued need for sectoral support and that this is being worked on now.”
She says ACTA and Minister Alghabra also discussed the need for a Travel and Tourism Roadmap to Recovery and ACTA had the opportunity to share their recommendations, as well as programs and progress from other parts of the world.
ACTA was told that the Minister recognized that a plan for recovery needs to be rolled out that is based on health indicators and benchmarks for what the restart will look like. However, the government will not roll out a plan for the recovery of travel until it is safe to do so.
At the same time, she said, the government is looking at what support measures will be needed in the short-medium term that are tailored to support the travel and tourism sectors.