Tuesday,  August 16, 2022  8:54 am

It's voting day! What travel advisors need to know about the federal election

  • Buzz
  •   09-20-2021  10:56 am
  •   Pax Global Media

It's voting day! What travel advisors need to know about the federal election
From left: Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole; Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau; NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. (File photos)
Pax Global Media

Canadians will finish voting today (Sept. 20) to elect a new federal government.

The snap election, which was called on Aug. 15, has given candidates 36 days to try and win over the hearts and minds of Canadians.

It’s the shortest possible election period under federal law.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is trying to win back the majority government he won back in 2015, but polling shows that he is nearly tied with his rival, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, suggesting that the results could be a photo finish.

Millions of Canadians have already voted in advance polls, or by mailing in their ballot, but the final showdown is tonight once polling stations close. (Click here for a breakdown of all the voting hours across Canada).

Calls for sector-specific aid 

In travel industry circles, this election has been an opportunity to elevate the industry’s need for extended financial aid and sector-specific support.

From day one of the election, the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) has tried to make support for the travel industry an election issue through a campaign called “Survival: Phase II.” 

READ MORE: “Too little too late” – Travel advisors dissect Trudeau’s “tourism pledge”

“Now more than ever, ACTA is urging members to engage in grassroots advocacy efforts by meeting with Members of Parliament, all candidates, and other decision-makers to ensure sectoral support for travel, tourism and travel agent issues becomes an election issue,” said Wendy Paradis, president of ACTA, last month. “This election provides a unique opportunity for us to elevate our message.”

PAX spoke with several travel industry leaders last month to review the sector-specific issues and gain a sense of what travel advisors want in their next government.

Wendy Paradis, president of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA). (File photo/Pax Global Media)

Firstly, securing sector-specific support for travel, tourism and travel agents is the number one priority for many travel agents right now.

Independent travel advisors, for one, have only been able to access the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) – a “lifeline,” as some have put it, that has already been reduced and is set to expire on Oct. 23.

The travel industry, in the eyes of the Canadian government, is still shut down given that non-essential travel and cruise advisories are still active.

Will Canada’s next leadership help restore consumer confidence in travel by aligning the country’s travel advisories with its eased border measures for fully vaccinated individuals?

Recovery plans for hardest-hit businesses, like travel and tourism, are also being discussed among federal candidates. (However, it is still unclear how all travel advisors will fit into these promises).

Each party’s take on mandatory vaccinations for travellers and transportation workers may also influence how travel is booked over the next year or two.  

ACTA, for several weeks now, has been encouraging agents to get involved by contacting their local candidates, but the most important thing the industry can do is cast their vote on election day.

“There is much to be lost – or gained—in the outcome of this election,” said Paradis last week. “For the travel industry, this is the most important election of our lifetime. For many of our members, their very survival depends on it.”

If missed, ACTA has an easy-to-use tool that compares the travel and tourism-related promises made by the top three parties in the election (the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP).

Click here to access the platform and simply use the drop-down menu to select the political party you’re interested in reviewing.

Happy voting.

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