Friday,  August 12, 2022  2:48 pm

Join ACITA in celebrating two years on June 28, win prizes! Register here

  • Agency
  •   06-26-2022  11:02 pm
  •   Pax Global Media

Join ACITA in celebrating two years on June 28, win prizes! Register here
Of ACITA (top, down); Judith Coates, TTAND; Brenda Slater, Beyond the Beach; Nancy Wilson, TravelOnly.
Pax Global Media

The Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors (ACITA), a grassroots group that has been fighting for fairness on behalf of independent travel advisors during the COVID-19 pandemic, is turning two.

Throughout COVID, ACITA has helped with huge industry wins, from ensuring that independent contractors (ICs) could access federal aid programs to securing commission protections for agents as airlines grappled with refund requests to helping politicians understand agents' sector-specific needs.

And while the work has been a long, gruelling process, the wins are worth celebrating, nonetheless.

So, to mark ACITA’s two-year anniversary, a special birthday event will be held virtually on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 from 7:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. EDT.

(Click here to register!)

The Zoom party, entitled “#WeAreNotDoneYet,” invites everyone in the travel industry to log in, wear blue and white (ACITA's official colours) and bring a favourite beverage as the team plays trivia, reminisces about how far they’ve come, and, yes, doles out “prizes galore.”

“During the event, we are excited to share who we are, our accomplishments so far, and where we are going,” ACITA said in a statement. “It will be a fun evening, with some trivia, and prizes!”

You have to be in attendance in order to qualify for the prizes, which were generously offered by several suppliers, who are set to attend the party as well.

The winners will be announced via Facebook Live on Thurs., June 30 from ACITA’s page.

Working towards change

ACITA was formed by Judith Coates of The Travel Agent Next Door (TTAND), Brenda Slater of Beyond the Beach and Nancy Wilson of TravelOnly in June of 2020.

The ladies met online over a shared concern that independent travel advisors were falling through the cracks as the travel industry fought for its survival.

Their correspondence, during that first year of COVID, was strictly virtual, and they didn’t actually meet each other, in person, until September 2021 – more than one later.

ACITA's two-year anniversary party is this Tuesday, June 28. (ACITA)

The volunteer-led association has since amassed a 2,000-plus membership on a private Facebook group, where advisors were urged to contact their local MPs to schedule virtual meetings so they could explain why they’ve needed sector-specific help.

The dialogue between ACITA, its members and Canada’s decision makers, over time, led to impactful campaigns that resulted in the words “independent travel advisor” being spoken in the House of Commons for the very first time.

While a lot has changed since ACITA’s formation with the reopening of global borders and removal of Canada’s travel restrictions, such as pre-departure testing and vaccine mandates, the group is adamant that “we are not done yet.”

“We are trying to work towards change in the industry so we, as ICs, are respected and have a great working relationship with suppliers so we can move forward to help each other,” said Wilson at TravelOnly’s TADA gala earlier this month, where she and Slater received the inaugural Patrick Luciani Legacy Award for their contributions to ACITA.

Coates, too, has received accolades from her host agency for her involvement with ACITA.

In May, at TTAND’s 2022 national conference, she received the Peer-to-Peer and Extraordinary Agent Awards, adding to the Gerald Heifetz Trailblazer Advocacy Award she won at ACTA’s 2021 summit (which was, ultimately, a team effort).

ACITA now has an executive team that helps out behind the scenes. And while business is back for many travel professionals, there’s still work to be done to make travel a better industry for independent advisors, ACITA says.  

“We really have to look at what the future holds for us moving forward, away from the pandemic and government supports,” the group told PAX. “While we will continue to pursue ways to protect ourselves from another similar pandemic crisis, we are looking ahead at how to forge solid partnerships with suppliers.”

Join ACITA in celebrating its second anniversary on Tuesday, June 28 from 7-8:00 p.m. To register, click here.

Suppliers that would like to donate a prize to Tuesday’s event are invited to email ACITA at acitacanada@gmail.com.

Travel pros that do not belong to ACITA's private Facebook group for independent agents are welcome to message the association through its website or public Facebook page.

You can also follow ACITA’s progress on Twitter here and LinkedIn here


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