TICO Pledges Support For Ontario Advisors, Consumers
Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw
Travel Industry Council of Ontario CEO Richard Smart is offering a message of support to registrants and consumers.
“These are unprecedented and dire times for travellers and the entire travel industry. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the people who have been affected by this unparalleled event and we appreciate the healthcare workers, local communities and governments around the world who are on the frontlines working to contain the coronavirus/COVID-19,” Smart wrote.
“For our registrants, we acknowledge the extreme challenges underway for your businesses and employees, and recognize the incredible support you’re providing to assist consumers.
For consumers, we know the stress that comes with the uncertainty of cancelling or rebooking your existing travel plans. We’ve been hearing from many of you about the long wait times to speak with your travel provider. It’s a stressful time and Ontario’s travel agencies, websites and tour operators are here to support you.”
Smart offers consumers an important suggestion: “If your departure is not imminent, please consider waiting to call as requests are being processed based on the date of departure. These circumstances are unprecedented and travel companies are working to assist you as quickly as possible.”
TICO staff will remain on duty, working either from the office or at home. During this time, to get in touch with TICO, email email@example.com or call 1-888-451-TICO (8426).
“While we all work together to contain this virus, TICO will continue to support consumers with information, direction and support while also working with registrants with compassion and flexibility. We will continue to post any updates as they become available,” Smart says.
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.
D Swidler- March 16, 2020 @ 11:22
Rather than simply providing a message of support, TICO and the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services should take immediate steps to assist registrants. TICO should lead by example by immediately and significantly cutting their operating expenses, including, but not limited to, pay cuts for TICO’s officers, a hiring freeze (TICO is currently hiring another 2 more staff), cancel any salary increases for staff and much more. The Ministry should also suspend the $200,000 payment that they collect annually from TICO and implement regulatory changes including eliminating the review engagement and audit requirements, office space requirements, working capital requirements and any plans to register travel agents individually. TICO’s Board of Directors should also volunteer their time for the remainder of the year. The Ministry should re-visit whether TICO is needed at all or whether it would be better to eliminate TICO and save registrants the massive amount of money and time that they currently spend complying with the outdated Travel Industry Act so that instead registrants can focus on their customers and their businesses.