The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) has launched a new campaign for independent travel advisors, who have been without targeted financial support (despite being among the hardest-hit entrepreneurs) since the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) ended in October.
The call to action is outlined at www.helpita.ca, which is a platform for independent travel agents to record a video detailing their personal story and why immediate financial support is urgently needed.
ACTA says the videos posted to the site will be shared widely on social media and with politicians in a national advocacy campaign.
The association is strongly encouraging all independent travel agents to visit www.helpita.ca and record a video.
“ACTA has proven through data that independent travel agents need immediate financial support. What’s missing is personal stories and requests for help,” reads a message on the campaign’s website.
ACTA President Wendy Paradis says the association continues to lobby and advocate for independent travel agent financial support when it meets with senior political and government officials.
ITARP still under review
The new campaign adds to a detailed proposal called the Independent Travel Agent Relief Program (ITARP) that ACTA submitted to the federal government in late December.
The solution aims to create equity between independent travel agents and other travel and tourism small businesses.
ITARP has been under consideration for more than three months now, resulting in a long-drawn-out process that has left some independent travel advisors skeptical over whether the program will actually happen.
Securing targeted assistance for independent travel advisors remains an urgent matter, especially as leading federal aid programs, like CEBA, CERS, CEWS and RRRF, excluded many hard-hit small business owners during the pandemic.
“It is disappointing that financial support has not yet materialized, especially at a time of such dire need,” said Paradis in a statement. “Our continued engagement and lobbying of government continues and ACTA calls for immediate and equitable financial support for independent travel agents.”
ACTA also recently submitted its Pre-Budget Consultation, which urges for independent travel agent financial support.
Last week, Paradis told PAX that "the issue is ‘on the table’ until Budget 2022 is released by the federal government, and ACTA will continue using all resources and avenues to advocate for this critical and urgent need.”
“…no one is making it happen”
The Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors (ACITA), a volunteer-based grassroots group that formed in June 2020, has held more than 330 virtual meetings with politicians and decision makers during the pandemic to illustrate the serious situation ITAs face.
They, too, are disappointed that after almost 24 months of advocacy work, few (if any) decisions on targeted financial aid have materialized.
“We are consistently told we are deserving of aid and that message comes from all [political] parties,” ACITA co-founder Nancy Wilson of TravelOnly told PAX last week. “Yet no one is making it happen.”
Independent agents can let Ottawa know how they feel by sharing their story via video at www.helpita.ca.