Saturday,  November 27, 2021  3:07 am

Grassroots group for travel agency owners launches 3 petitions to support industry

Grassroots group for travel agency owners launches 3 petitions to support industry
The Canadian Association of Travel Entrepreneurs is a group for travel agency owners. (Supplied)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

A grassroots group of Canadian travel agency owners has launched a series of petitions that call for enhanced support for travel and tourism industries.

The Canadian Association of Travel Entrepreneurs (CATE) has initiated three paper petitions that focus on extending government support for the travel industry, ending the Ottawa's hotel quarantine program and calling for a tourism stimulus package.

The three petitions are available here and CATE is asking travel professionals to submit them no later than May 15th.

The paper petitions must be printed off, signed and mailed in, CATE says. Photocopies are not acceptable and any Canadian citizen or resident, of any age, can sign.

You can be a member of the same household or travel agency but “you do not have to be a travel advisor or in the travel industry,” CATE says.

Customers, bystanders, neighbours, friends, and family are encouraged to also print and sign.

Travel industry support

“We are the only G7 country who has yet to provide sector-specific aid to our ailing aviation and travel and tourism industry,” wrote Laurie Keith, president of CATE and founder of Boutique Travel Services, in a press release.

This petition asks the federal government to top up the CEWS and CERS to match total revenue loss to maintain jobs and office leases.

A recent survey reported that most Canadian travel agency owners are reporting more than a 75% decline in revenue and hence, cannot support the expenses of staff and office lease, CATE says.

“We are also asking for the forgiveness of the CEBA loan for those small businesses that have demonstrated a minimum of 75% revenue loss for 15 months to aid in their recovery,” Keith said.

Keith says the Canadian government “effectively shut down our industry” when travel restrictions were introduced last year.

“Yet, we have not received any sector-specific support for this shut-down,” she said.

End hotel quarantine

This petition, outlining low case counts linked to international travel, asks the federal government to immediately end their mandatory three-night hotel quarantine.

“We also know some travellers are avoiding the hotel quarantine by traveling to the U.S. border towns and driving across,” Keith said.

The other issue, she said, is that travellers who cannot afford the hotel quarantine are being charged $3,750 each and not being granted a government-funded facility, added Keith.

“It's ineffective and is damaging our travel and tourism industry,” she said.

Tourism stimulus package

If travel restrictions aren’t eased by December 2021, the total impact could reach $37 billion in losses and an estimated 284,000 to 406,000 in total job loss, Statistics Canada reports.

“We are seeking a safe re-opening and recovery plan to include the lifting of travel restrictions in 2021 or replace then with rapid testing, which has been proven to work in the YYC pilot project for example,” Keith said of the third petition.

“We would like to see a stimulus package for Canadians to encourage them to travel domestically, but more importantly, mandate that these travel reservations be made through a Canadian travel agency or travel agent.”

Get involved

CATE memberships are free and open to all Canadian travel agency owners only.

The organization’s “5-pillar purpose” is to unite travel agency owners in Canada together in advocacy, connect with one another, help each other improve their businesses through sharing best practices, prosper through expense-sharing and support and provide business training and coaching.

It's 460 members to date are “like-minded and driven leaders in the retail travel industry, whether they are hosted or have their own IATA, or are home-based or have a brick and mortar office.”

To apply, click here

CATE’s next Zoom meet-up is being held on April 21st at 12 p.m. EST. All members are invited to attend.

Visit CATE's website here

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