ACTA ‘Strongly Opposes’ Increase In TICO Comp Fund Rates
ACTA is calling “outrageous” the proposed increase in contributions to the Ontario Travel Industry Compensation Fund for retailers and wholesalers registered in the province.
On 21MAR, the TICO Board of Directors advised registrants that it has proposed an increase to the Compensation Fund rates as of 1JULY from $0.15 to $0.25 per thousand dollars of travel sales.
“We feel it is outrageous to think the retail industry can afford an increase of up to 66%,” said a statement released by Fiona Bowen, ACTA Ontario regional manager.
“While we understand that there is a need to maintain the Compensation Fund level, there must be alternatives to achieve this with means other than a significant rate increase at the onus of our members’ bottom line.”
TICO is projecting an operating deficit and potential for the Compensation Fund to drop below a targeted balance of $20 million if fund levies are not increased. In announcing the proposed increase, TICO CEO Richard Smart pointed out that previously scheduled contribution increases were cancelled in 2013 and 2014, as revenues were enough to maintain the fund at an acceptable level.
“We looked at the next 3-year business plan and realized the increase would be required,” Smart said. He pointed out that the increase would put the required contribution at the same level it was in 2001.
“Not many businesses can say that their fees are what they were 15 years ago,” Smart says.
With the increase, an agency with $2 million in sales would see its annual contributions rise from under $300 per year to under $500. But ACTA says the timing is wrong and TICO should seek other alternatives.
“This is a substantial increase for any operating budget to absorb and our members in Ontario have warned that after a dreadful winter, a slowing economy and the low Canadian dollar that sales may look like they are trending up but the reality is that margins are trending down,” said the ACTA statement.
ACTA says it has received a number of phone calls and email from members opposed to the rate increase. ”These same members have suggested that TICO should look at managing their operational expenses as any private sector service would and commit to seriously evaluating a consumer pay model.”
ACTA says it will forward a submission to TICO opposing the increase on behalf of ACTA members by the deadline of 15APRIL. Those interested in having their opinions heard can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.