Message from the Registrar

"The end of the year is always a time for reflection. As we prepare to ring in the New Year in a few short weeks, it’s an opportune time to look back at a few highlights from 2019."

Richard Smart

New digital TICO Talk a popular read

This past summer, we invited each of you to complete a survey about how you read TICO Talk and the type of content you find most interesting. We heard you loud and clear when you said you read the newsletter online and you’re most interested in articles about compliance. The July-September edition launched on a new online platform that is easy-to-use across any device, and features multimedia and photos.

The results? Compared to the previous PDF edition, the new digital TICO Talk had 2.5 times the number of views. And, we could see which articles were especially popular with readers. The compliance quiz saw readers spend an average of 2 minutes and 33 seconds testing their knowledge. If you have other ideas on how we can make TICO Talk even more beneficial for you, please email

Consumer campaign reaching millions of Ontarians

It's been exactly a year since TICO launched its digital consumer awareness campaign. The aim of the campaign is to educate Ontarians about the benefits of booking with a TICO-registered travel agency or website.

The campaign uses a variety of online tactics, including social media, search engine marketing, videos and banners ads, to communicate TICO’s consumer protection messaging. And, we’re pleased to report that our latest wave of advertisements really resonated with consumers. Not only are we reaching more and more consumers, we are also seeing a steady climb in the number of consumers who are aware of TICO and the benefits of consumer protection. We’ll share more details in the next edition of TICO Talk.

As we continue to refine the consumer awareness campaign, we’re reaching out to consumers directly. We recently conducted focus groups in Ottawa and Mississauga to better understand consumers’ travel purchase behaviour and how we can further strengthen the way we communicate about the benefits of booking with a TICO-registered company. This information will be key as we plan our next wave of consumer communications for fiscal year 2020/2021.

Collaboration with government

While this topic has been in many of my updates over the past few years, it continues to be one of TICO’s key priorities. Work continues to be underway on updating the regulation. The goals remain the same – enhance consumer protection, reduce burden on registrants and implement other regulatory efficiencies. While no firm dates on potential changes are set at this time, we hope to share more in the New Year.

Ongoing registrant education and collaboration

Throughout the year, TICO has offered a variety of workshops and webinars to registrants, free of charge. Our popular in-person Travel Agent Workshop is a half day session that covers key compliance topics and has been hosted in Ottawa and Mississauga recently.

We also have a number of shorter webinars that do a deep dive into a single compliance area, such as advertising or financial compliance. The feedback on these sessions is excellent and more dates, topics and locations will be added in early 2020. I encourage you to keep an eye on TICO's website for future sessions, and invite staff within your company to attend as well.

While the workshops and webinars are an excellent learning opportunity for registrants, they are also an excellent way for TICO to better understand the needs of registrants. We use the feedback from these sessions to plan new and innovative ways to build our connection with registrants.

We have been consistently hearing that registrants want to communicate to their clients the consumer protection benefits of booking with them. We’re working on a new toolkit to help you do just that. Combining TICO’s consumer awareness efforts, with those of agents who are directly speaking to travellers every day, will go a long way in increasing Ontarians’ understanding of why it’s beneficial to book with a TICO-registered company.

Mid-year financial update

While the calendar year is ending, we are about two-thirds of the way through TICO’s fiscal year, which ends on March 31. We continue to keep a close eye on the economy and on consumer confidence, with both remaining steady throughout the year.

TICO is always prudent with its financial management and continues to track in-line with budgeted revenues, while tracking below budget on expenses as we continue to seek efficiencies.

It has been another relatively low year for Compensation Fund claims, with no significant activity to-date. We are continuing our focus on digitizing key processes that interact with you. Online payment capabilities are now in place and we have further process enhancements planned for next year. And, we are now beginning our financial planning process for the fiscal 2020/2021, which promises to be a very busy year.

In closing

As another year ends, I know many of us are gearing up for a busy travel season to visit friends and family near and far. On behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire team at TICO, have a safe and happy holiday and a prosperous New Year.

Best wishes,

Richard Smart

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