TICO’s 2022 Annual General Meeting marked the organization’s 25th anniversary. A key theme for the virtual AGM held on June 28 was the resiliency of the travel industry through the global pandemic.
“While the entire travel ecosystem is shifting and re-inventing itself, an expectation for a fair and balanced consumer protection framework remains vital,” said Richard Smart, TICO’s President and CEO.
“The Ontario travel marketplace is resilient and will continue to grow. It is important for consumers and business to experience a fair, informed and balanced market, within a regulatory environment where businesses thrive and consumers are protected.”
Smart and TICO Chair Michael Levinson celebrated key achievements since TICO began its operations in June 1997.
— Answering 115,656 consumer enquiries via emails, phone calls and walk-ins.
— Closing 6,594 written consumer complaints.
— Facilitating $4,962,172 in restitution between registrants and consumers.
— Distributing $14,880,349 from the Compensation Fund to assist 24,037 consumers.
— Repatriating 4,266 consumers stranded in destination.
— Conducting 46,155 bench reviews of registrants’ financial records, along with 11,105 site inspections.
— Issuing 2,675 warnings to unregistered operators.
TICO acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has been an exceptionally challenging time for Ontario’s travel agencies, websites and tour operators. While consumer confidence has increased in recent months, TICO says it is mindful of the current economic environment and its impact on registrants.
Smart noted that from the beginning of the pandemic, TICO registrants have had their registration fees and Compensation Fund contributions waived, using funding provided to TICO by the Ontario government.
TICO held consultations last fall about a future funding framework. Industry members told the council that the proposed approach needed to be reconsidered. Smart says TICO has committed to further industry consultation to develop a fair funding model that reflects the principles of cost recovery, delivers value to stakeholders, and is consistent with the laws of Ontario.
The AGM also revealed additions to TICO’s Board of Directors for fiscal year 2022/2023. The following individuals were appointed:
— Doug Ellison – Elected representative (by acclamation)
— Monica Johnstone – Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA)
The meeting also recognized the commitment and impact of two outgoing directors, Rocky Racco and Leanna Villella.
A recording of the AGM will be made available on TICO’s YouTube channel and website. For more information, view the Annual Report for fiscal year 2021/2022 and the Business Plan for 2022-2025.