The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) says that travel agency annual registration and travel compensation fees will be completely waived between April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
The year-long relief period comes as COVID-19 continues to batter the travel industry and as TICO receives funding from the Ontario Government, which has allowed the organization to continue assisting travel agents.
Waiving fees will allow registrants to “focus on their priority business needs without the added financial stress of meeting certain payment obligations with TICO,” wrote Richard Smart, president and CEO of TICO, in a recent bulletin.
The waiver applies to registrants who were already registered with TICO as of March 31, 2020, Smart clarified.
It does not apply to “new” registrants who applied for initial registration after March 31, 2020.
For those registrants who may have already paid their annual registration renewal fees or Travel Industry Compensation Fund payments owed between April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, they will be receiving a refund from TICO, wrote Smart.
TICO will be contacting all impacted registrants with the details of the refund process.
Notably, registrants subject to the waiver are still required to complete and submit their Registration Renewal Form (without payment) and their Form-1 (without payment) by the filing deadline.
“I would like to thank the travel agent and wholesaler sector, and the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) for all its efforts during these unprecedented times. Our government recognizes the financial hardship this sector continues to experience as a result of COVID-19, and is providing financial support to TICO to assist its registrants during this difficult time,” stated Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services.
Smart said that TICO has maintained a “steady focus on our mandate of consumer protection and effective regulation of Ontario’s travel industry” throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
“But it has been a daunting task in the face of overwhelming adversity,” wrote Smart. “Which is why we welcome the opportunity this financial assistance provides to registrants and to help us continue to operate, while assisting our registrants.”
The Association for Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) took to its Twitter on Wednesday (Sept. 2nd) to applaud the news.
“This is very welcome news to ACTA and Ontario Travel Agencies,” ACTA tweeted.
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