The travel industry has been, from Day 1, on the front lines of the global response to the outbreak of COVID-19. The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) has acknowledged how overwhelming the challenges have been for the more than 12,000 advisors of its member agencies.
As the federal government has called for Canadians abroad to be repatriated immediately and banned most inbound travel to Canada, and pressure on travel advisors continues to grow, ACTA is stepping up its support of agencies and advisors with a new, COVID-19 portal for travel advisors (found here).
The portal will allow ACTA members to log in and access ACTA’s own compilation of alerts and advisories, links to government resources and funding programs, and business resources to help advisors meet the challenges of COVID-19.
New partnership providing HR Assistance
Anticipating some agencies will need help with staffing as advisors need time off to care for children out of school or self-isolate with a positive diagnosis, ACTA has partnered with HR a la Carte.
The new partnership provides ACTA members savings on the company’s HR Consulting Packages. Members can access the preferred pricing on consultations by logging in to the member portal or via ACTA’s COVID-19 portal. The consultation will help agency owners determine the best cost-effective HR package that will meet staffing needs.
Lobbying on behalf of travel businesses
“This too shall pass over time,” advised ACTA president Wendy Paradis of the COVID-19 crisis, “By pulling together and working with government, the industry will survive this just as it has so many crises in the past. We want you to know that ACTA has been hard at work on several fronts, lobbying on your behalf.”
ACTA describes its advocacy activities on behalf of the Canadian travel agency community over the last couple of weeks during the “whirlwind” of extraordinary, daily changes in the travel industry. The organization has taken a four-prong approach that includes:
- Collaborating with travel suppliers including air, tour, cruise and inbound tourism executives to advocate for ACTA members as well as the sector in Canada as a whole;
- Reaching out to the Federal jobs Minister emphasizing the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry, requesting urgent action and assistance;
- Communicating “grave concern” about the impact of travel advisories to Canada’s Global Affairs, asking those officials to balance health and welfare concerns with the impact its advisories have on the travel industry, its contributions to the Canadian economy, and Canadian jobs; and
- Explaining that economic and employment impact to government COVID-19 Cabinet Committee members.
Advisor letters to government
ACTA says many members have reached out to offer their own support for ACTA’s lobbying efforts, with advisors keen to get involved in letter writing to elected officials.
The organization encourages advisors to write to their local MP’s, MPP’s and local government. “It will all help drive home how serious this is for the industry.”
At the moment, ACTA is not itself orchestrating an organized letter-writing campaign, complete with templates and specific messages, but says that step may come down the road.
The organization says it will continue to update its new COVID-19 portal, its lobbying and collaboration with industry, and will keep advisors posted when new developments arise, or when more action on the part of Canada’s travel professionals is needed.
Live update webinar for advisors
Paradis will be hosting a live webinar update for advisors tomorrow, Thursday, March 19th at 1:30 p.m. EST.
During the webinar, she will share how ACTA is advocating to government on behalf of ACTA members, as well as provide the most up to date information on government financial aid programs that support Canadian business during COVID-19 crisis.
Paradis will be joined by Corina Sibley, managing director of HR al la Carte, who will share best practices to deal with COVID-19 in the workplace, how to implement potential work-share strategies and who to contact should you require any HR assistance for your business.
ACTA members can register for tomorrow’s webinar here.