SECOND AT LARGE VACANCY: RICHARD VANDERLUBBE
Richard Vanderlubbe is the founder and owner of tripcentral.ca, a travel agency with 26 locations and a national website. It has been in business under prior trade names since 1989 where it began as a single startup travel agency in Hamilton. Richard has participated in industry affairs for many years dating back to the late 1990s. He was elected the Chair of ACTA Ontario, sat on the national board, and chaired ACTA National for a couple of years. Richard also served on the TICO board since 2001 in various capacities including Chair, Vice Chair and currently Chair of the Legislative and Regulatory Modernization Committee looking at an overhaul of the Travel Industry Act.
Over the years, Richard has garnered a rare understanding of both the detailed fundamentals of the Canadian retail travel business, and a bigger picture view of the industry and trends. He believes the industry is at another crossroads with opportunities and disruptors including the sharing economy, ultra-low cost airlines, and the development of artificial intelligence. At the same time, consumers’ expectations are skyrocketing with new technology while seeking human touch and intuition in their travel arrangements. Richard believes the legislative and regulatory framework needs to be fair to allow travel agents to continue to be a relevant part of the consumer experience. This is why the review of the Ontario Travel Industry Act (TIA) is so important, especially considering Ontario represents 50% of Canada’s travel purchases. With BC and Quebec, the regulated provinces can shape the environment more than anything. It is no accident that the travel agency business is alive and well in Canada compared to the US.
Further, changes in the way payments are made will impact the travel industry in a fundamental way. In addition, the United debacle has given us another window to influence the Passenger Bill of Rights in Canada which, if we do our work right, can benefit travel agencies – or at least, not harm them. As a “business”, ACTA needs to be more relevant in the day-to-day operations of travel agencies, and this will require investment. More needs to be done to bring influential leaders in the travel agency business together with suppliers to foster greater understanding of how the relationship can be enhanced for mutual benefit.
Richard welcomes the opportunity to lend his knowledge, experience, time and commitment on the ACTA Board of Directors for the 2017-2018 term.