The Travel Industry Council of Ontario held its annual general meeting last night, providing members with an update on the organization’s activities and achievements, along with goals for the coming year.
The 2015 AGM marked the first such meeting for recently-appointed president & CEO Richard Smart. For the first time in seven years, the 2014-15 fiscal year ended in a surplus of $504,364, Smart said, the result of “prudent expense management” and a fee increase to the semi-annual Travel Industry Compensation Fund assessments (from five cents to 15 cents per $1,000 in sales), which came into effect in May 2013.
Smart told PAX that a proposed increase to 22 cents for that fee has been proposed for the coming year, subject to industry and governmental consultation. The increase, he said, would support a number of TICO initiatives in areas such as consumer awareness, education, technology, regulatory modernization and corporate social responsibility.
Other TICO fees have remained frozen since 2011, Smart said, in an effort to minimize costs for registrants.
Contributions to the Compensation Fund for the year past were $2,395,653, an increase of $1,182,317 over 2014. Total net claims against the fund for the 2014-15 fiscal year amounted to $55,622, which Smarted said was the lowest figure on record since TICO’s inception.
Registration is down slightly in 2015, he said, with 2,485 registrants this year from 2,512 in 2014. Of that total, 142 were new registrants and 17 were reinstatements, offset by 186 terminations or revocations.
Smart also noted that 6,236 travel counsellor exams were written this year, bringing the total number of exams written since July 1, 2009, to 48,805.
As of March 31, TICO had also conducted 438 site inspections, 64 per cent of which for working capital and trust accounting issues. The team issued 317 invoicing warnings and 158 warnings for unregistered agents. Ninety-five charges were laid, with 34 convictions, Smart said. Of the 307 complaints against TICO registrants, Smart said that 265 were resolved with $101,762 in restitution for consumers.
The meeting also saw the election of members to TICO’s Board of Directors, including Paul Samuel, Scott Stewart and Tisha Saunders.