If the COVID-19 pandemic has proven anything, it’s that political support matters.
After nearly 14 months of economic challenges, travel trade communities – one of, if not the hardest-hit sector in Canada – continue to face immense pressure and challenges.
Commission protections. Qualifying and extended aid. Uncertainty over when travel and border restrictions will be lifted and when planes will start flying again. Travel stigma.
Travel advisors are in a difficult and unique situation and finding solutions to chart a course forward have been frustrating at best.
Engaging with Canada’s politicians to educate them about the travel industry, from how travel advisors are paid to the barriers some agents face in accessing financial aid, has been key to ensuring travel advisors can survive in this business and continue to do what they love.
Just ask the Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors (ACITA), a grassroots group, formed in June 2020, that has held more 220 meetings over Zoom with ministers, members of parliament and policy advisors to personally explain the tough situation self-employed advisors face amid the coronavirus crisis.
The volunteer-run group, which is run by Judith Coates of The Travel Agent Next Door, Brenda Slater of Beyond the Beach and Nancy Wilson of TravelOnly, encourages members on a private Facebook group to schedule one-on-one meetings with their local MPs so they can personally explain why they need help.
The outcome of this effort, backed by petitions and social media campaigns, has given Canadian travel advisors a loud and influential voice in Ottawa as dozens of MPs, over the past year, have stood up for agents in the House of Commons to make the issues known.
For Travel Agent Day 2021, Pax Global Media, in collaboration with ACITA, is showcasing just some of the political figures who have taken time to listen to the personal struggles of travel advisors during the pandemic, learn the issues, and offer support in their fight for fairness.
We put a nation-wide call-out to participate in a Travel Agent Day video and a whopping 25 politicians answered, including MPs from across the country, one Senator and even Minister of Transport Hon. Omar Alghabra himself.
“On this travel agent day, we salute our hard-working, talented and dedicated travel professionals, from coast to coast to coast. This year has been a challenging year for you, but you’ve stepped up and helped many Canadians when they needed help. And for that we are very grateful,” says Minister Alghabra in the exclusive video.
With Air Canada and Transat AT now protecting trade commissions, and as Canada ramps up its vaccination roll out, a fair, safe and secure reopening of travel is (hopefully) on the horizon.
Until then, take a moment to hear a few words from some of Canada’s leaders as they applaud travel advisors on Travel Agent Day 2021 and offer their words of support.
And PAX, too, will always have the backs of our resilient, loyal and dedicated readership of travel professionals.
From us, to you, Happy Travel Agent Day.
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