Advocacy throughout the height of the pandemic was critical in securing financial support and for the re-opening of our borders. Now that travel agencies and independent travel agents are recovering, advocacy remains vital as we collectively rebuild our industry.
ACTA remains steadfast, vocal, and visible as we lobby to ensure no impeding regulations are in place and maximum government support is offered to our members as we "Build Back Better."
Looking Forward: Key priorities in 2023 for ACTA include advocating for government supports to address labour challenges, easing the traveller experience to recover demand, deferring and forgiving federal emergency pandemic debts, and preventing and managing any risk of renewed border measures. In addition, advocating with suppliers on improving the sales ecosystem and compensation model continues as priorities.
Travel restrictions: ACTA is front-and-center in pressuring the government through direct lobbying and in the media for any travel restrictions that impede our industry from operating as normal.
Further, as a member of the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable steering committee, it has a significant influence on the removal of measures and the prevention of new measures. ACTA remains vigilant in preventing renewed measures and advocates for financial aid should they return.
Financial support: Through direct engagement with the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Prime Ministers' Office, campaigns with Members of Parliament, and as a member of the steering committee for the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses, renewed rent and wage support was secured for eligible travel agencies and some independent travel agents into 2022. Further, campaigns for expanding support to all independent travel agents earned significant government attention, including Ministerial meetings, organizing grassroots campaigns, and lobbying of national decision-makers.
Throughout 2022, ACTA held member events to consult, engage, and educate on key priorities:
- Advocacy Townhalls and webinars to keep members informed
- Specialist "Ask the Expert" education sessions, including presentations by outside experts
- Consultations with regional councils, Independent Travel Agent advisory groups, and continual member surveying and engagement
- National in-person Summits in Eastern Canada, Western Canada, and Quebec.
Regulation provinces and Global Representation: Through vigorous advocacy with TICO and the Government of Ontario, additional fee waivers were secured. Further, influence at Consumer Protection B.C. continued, including a presentation on agency and agent interests at its Board of Directors meeting. ACTA remains vigorously active in Quebec, securing an annual fee waiver and influencing OPC decision-making. Advocacy in all provinces on matters of insurance and limiting red tape remains core to ACTA's advocacy strategy.
International – As an executive member of the World Travel Agents Association Alliance (WTAAA), ACTA works internationally to support agency and agent interests, including influencing IATA rules through its standing in the Passenger Agency Programme, Global Joint Council, and Agency Programme Joint Council.
Suppliers – ACTA continues engaging with suppliers on critical matters, including service delays, contact center wait times, and compensation models. Advocacy on these issues is essential to our combined success as an industry, and these conversations are ongoing.