Message from the Registrar
Looking back at my messages in this newsletter over the past two years, there is a common theme that despite all the hardships the travel industry has experienced, there is an enduring resilience and optimism for brighter days ahead.
It’s been a long and bumpy road for the industry with several false-starts for recovery, but it does seem like we are finally on that path. Path to recovery Since February, there has been a noticeable shift in the marketplace. We are seeing the resurgence of travel after border restrictions were lifted and public health measures were eased.
Consumer sentiment has also shifted, unleashing the pent-up demand that built up over two years of staying close to home. This is positive for consumers and industry, but a full recovery will take time and we may see more bumps along the way.
Consumer protection Consumers are eager to travel again, but the landscape has changed from two years ago. Conditions are ever-changing, as are restrictions both in Canada and abroad. Consumers must be very careful to ensure they are aware of the consumer protections available to them, especially the importance of travel and medical insurance. TICO registrants can demonstrate their value by helping consumers navigate this challenging environment, through appropriate disclosures and ensuring consumers are fully informed about their travel purchase. And, as our latest consumer research shows on page 5, 82% of Ontario consumers believe it’s important that the travel agency or website they book with is regulated. During this period of transition, consumer protection can be an important selling feature as consumers re-enter the travel marketplace.
Ongoing support We know the industry has suffered financially and recovery is only just beginning. That’s why TICO and the Ontario government announced another year of fee waivers and regulatory amendments aimed at reducing burden for registrants. More details can be found on page 9. We at TICO wholeheartedly believe that consumer protection is best served by a strong and vibrant travel sector, which will take some time to rebound to pre-pandemic levels.
Each year, there is an exciting opportunity to join TICO’s Board of Directors to serve the travelling public, your travel community and to provide governance oversight towards TICO’s consumer protection mandate.
I cannot think of a better way to help guide the important role of consumer protection within Ontario than by joining our Board. The nomination process to join TICO’s Board can be found on page 9.
In closing, we cannot acknowledge enough the pain and suffering caused by the war in Ukraine. We know the travel community continues to support Ukrainians in so many ways. Here at TICO, we have a commitment towards Corporate Social Responsibility both locally and abroad. TICO staff members have joined together to raise funds for the Red Cross to support their efforts in the region. While the past two years have been a struggle in many ways, we hope that brighter days for all will be ahead.
Richard Smart Registrar & CEO