CATO Urges Gov't Support For Tour Operators Facing "Unique Biz Challenges"

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

CATO chair and general manager
Canada at Collette, Brett Walker.

The Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) is urging the federal government to ease travel restrictions and to extend the Canadian Emergency Wage Subidy until at least 31MAR, 2021. 

CATO says tour operators face unique business challenges with long lead times with no revenue from booking date to travel date and are seriously impacted by the covid-19 pandemic. Even after any restart, it would take operators months to realize any revenue from advance payments and could be years before the industry achieves any sustainable level. 

Without government support, CATO says many thousands of jobs will be lost, as fixed costs for tour operators have continued unabated since mid-March and will continue well past the current anticipated extinction of the CEWS Wage Subsidy program.

The tour operators association will be conducting a letter-writing campaign to various Ministers and Members of Parliament requesting these support measures. 

"The government must make known any criteria for easing of travel restrictions and reopening of borders. The criteria, while serving public health, would immensely help industry to forecast and plan for recovery," CATO says in a news release.

"Tour operators were the very first to be impacted by Covid 19, and will be the very last to restart their businesses to any acceptable degree."

"Travel restrictions imposed on Canadians and international travellers into Canada have virtually. halted all travel. With little or no easing in sight, there is no horizon for any real recovery."

With or without effective vaccines, any increase in travel will be exceedingly slow, requiring operators to expend double the resources to produce travel experiences in a safety-conscious environment, CATO notes. Moreover, it says operators will not be able to rely on travel bookings due to cash flow restrictions from trust accounting requirements and the need to offer extremely flexible cancellation/change policies.

CATO represents some 40 brands operated by its members.

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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