Message from the Registrar
Summer is finally here and the desire to travel has never been greater than in the aftermath of the global pandemic.
Throughout Ontario, we are experiencing an unleashing of massive consumer demand to take that long-awaited vacation, business trip or simply visit a loved one.
The pent-up demand for summer travel has sparked a boom in business for travel agencies, but not all areas of the travel sector are seeing as swift of a recovery.
While the pandemic is receding, there are now new headwinds that we all need to consider. Path to recovery So far this year, filings into TICO indicate a brisk return to travel. While still significantly lower than pre-pandemic sales, the travel recovery to date appears stronger than originally anticipated.
This is good news for registrants whose businesses have been devastated over the past two and a half years.
By no means has this ongoing recovery been smooth. We have all seen the challenges at airports, passport offices and the continued changes associated with vaccines and testing requirements.
Consumers remain frustrated with these travel hurdles and the ongoing challenges with customer service matters, vouchers, and rising prices. While this recovery is rocky, we remain optimistic that the overall positive trajectory will continue.
Value of a travel agent Travel has clearly become more complex and the importance of a professional travel advisor is more apparent than ever.
At TICO, we continue to leverage our various platforms to advise consumers of the importance and benefits of working with a registered travel agency, booking website or tour operator.
Concurrently, we have seen a rise in unregistered businesses and individuals selling travel services across the province. Our compliance team remains focused on identifying and working with these enterprises to ensure compliance, so that a level playing field can be maintained for all.
We passionately believe the value of a travel advisor is strengthened by ensuring consumers are aware of available consumer protections when purchasing travel. A more informed consumer is more likely to return as a future customer.
Looking forward As global supply chains begin to stabilize, new challenges associated with record high inflation have given rise to higher interest rates and the possibility of a future recession.
We have seen consumer confidence decline sharply in recent weeks as the current economic conditions create further uncertainty.
It remains to be seen what the impact of these issues will be compared with the elevated desire to travel, and the possibility of any future pullback in consumer spending. In closing
The challenges of this past year have continued to take a toll on many both at home and abroad. We remain thankful for our healthcare professionals, and similarly for the many travel professionals who have gone that extra mile for their customers. The team at TICO remains focussed on our consumer protection mandate and our continued commitment to environment, social and governance (ESG) matters. We remain focused on working with registrants during the travel recovery and the brighter days ahead. On behalf of the team at TICO, I wish you and your families an enjoyable summer and safe travels ahead.
Richard Smart Registrar & CEO