TICO Fees To Rise; 18th AGM Sees New Faces At The Table
Open Jaw By Bruce Parkinson
of the Travel Industry Council of Ontario will make a bigger contribution to
the Travel Industry Compensation Fund beginning next April, with the levy per
$1,000 of sales increasing to 22¢. After being frozen at 5¢ per $1,000 for 6
years, the contribution had risen to 15¢ for the past fiscal year.
audience at the 18
th TICO Annual General Meeting in YTO heard, the
$2.395 million contributed by registrants in the past fiscal year was nearly
double the prior year. As it happened, the net claims paid out of the Fund
totalled just $55,622, the smallest disbursement in 10 years and one of the
lowest in TICO history.
was the 1
st net surplus for TICO in 7 years, totalling over
$441,000. The Compensation Fund stands at $20.85 million, down from $30 million
10 years ago but considered within an acceptable range to handle any major
AGM was the 1st without Michael Pepper, who led TICO from its
inception before retiring last year – though he was in the audience for
It was the
st for new TICO President Richard Smart, who was named to replace
Pepper after a lengthy search. He thanked his predecessor for his “assistance,
guidance and support" during the transition period.
It was the
final TICO AGM with Michael Janigan hosting the meeting. The veteran consumer
advocate joined the TICO Board in 2004 and has been Chairman since 2004. He
praised Pepper's contribution at TICO, saying his “record of accomplishment is
well-known in the industry." Janigan also welcomed Smart, saying he has “every
confidence in him" to fulfill TICO's mission of providing protection to
consumers purchasing travel and a level playing field for industry
comments, Smart noted that the number of active TICO registrants is currently
2,485, down 1% from the year before and just 2% from 5 years ago. He also said
the mix of retail and wholesale registrations has remained consistent –
“dismissing the suggestion that you have to be big to survive."
praised the resiliency of agents and the “evolving value proposition" that is
maintaining their relevance.
clearly plenty of interest in the profession. More than 6,200 people took TICO
exams in the past year, up 17% from the year before. Smart says education of
industry members is essential to the future of the industry and that voluntary
education modules will be created so agents can stay current with industry
TICO's mandate is to enforce working capital, trust accounting and registration
rules to protect consumers and the reputation of the industry. As well as
issuing hundreds of warnings for invoicing, advertising and registration
transgressions, TICO launched 16 new investigations, laid 95 charges, won 34
convictions and levied $150,000 in fines. Cumulatively, the convictions also
resulted in 630 days of jail time.
take appropriate enforcement actions when necessary," Smart said.
technology means new opportunities for unscrupulous travel sellers, Smart told
the audience, and TICO is reacting by doing things like sweeping Kijiji for
Next to staffing costs, TICO's biggest expense
is its consumer awareness campaign, which represents another part of its
mandate – letting consumers know they are protected when they buy travel
through TICO-registered companies. Smart cited research that says public
awareness of TICO is growing – from 26% to 32% over the past year, and just
below 40% in the GTA. He says TICO will use new alliances and social media to
continue to grow the awareness numbers.
of an election for 3 open spots on the TICO Board saw Tisha Saunders win a spot
formerly held by the CITC and now open to a wholesale, retail or marketing
group representative. Saunders owns a Marlin Travel franchise in Orangeville.
Vision Travel's Paul Samuel was elected as a retail representative. Former
Board member as an OMCA representative Scott Stewart was acclaimed for a
wholesale position on the Board.
Smart says he sees TICO as “an industry partner and an overseer of checks and
balances." The industry can't be too dissatisfied - just 210 ballots were cast
in the election from a universe of 2,500 and there were no questions from the
audience following the AGM presentation.
Board Chairman Janigan provided an interesting anecdote by noting that 20 years
ago when the model of joint industry/government regulation was put forward, he
was among the 1
st to denounce it as a sellout of consumer interests.
“It will never work," he recalls saying. “I'm happy to cheerfully eat my
words," Janigan says. “TICO is a particularly good example of the ability of
the system to recognize the public interest and to have industry assistance in
implementing that interest through legislation."