As part of an organizational restructure, the Canadian Institute of Travel Counsellors (CITC) has eliminated the president and COO position, precipitating the departure of long-time president Steve Gillick.
Ryan DiMarco, business development manager, is now running CITC day to day.
The restructure, which included cutting the fulltime position of finance officer, was announced by the CITC national board at its recent meeting. Gillick, who served as president of CITC for more than 16 years, had no comment on the change.
The board “agonized” about the decision, national board chairman Ed Bennington told Travel Market Report.
“As the national board worked through [its] three-year vision, we reviewed every job role in the CITC organization and worked with an independent firm to benchmark the jobs,” said Bennington, who is rewards manager at LoyaltyOne / AIR MILES Reward Program.
“We also looked at our overall vision, as well as a deficit budget, and realized that we had a business development manager, but we needed an operations manager to complement that.
“We agonized for months about eliminating the president position, but it became apparent we needed to do that. The decision was around eliminating the role,” said Bennington.
“These decisions are never easy,” Bennington said. “But at the end of the day, CITC is a business and must be run as one – the national board has a responsibility to the members of the organization.”
CITC called ‘stale’
The board decided to look at a “fresh approach” for the organization, Bennington said, after members told board members that CITC was “stale” and they did “not see value for their membership.”
CITC’s main business, said Bennington, will continue to be certifying travel counselors as CTCs and CTMs.
The board wants to build its member base “by creating value that is exclusive to our membership.”
Improvements for CITC
Bennington said that plans include:
• More timely and relevant educational seminars for members. “Although the topics will still primarily revolve around the travel industry, we can create additional value by expanding to offer seminars to assist the small business owner.”
• Free or greatly reduced pricing of educational seminars for members.
• Exclusive members-only seminars, events and contests.
• Promoting careers in the travel industry through high schools and colleges.
Spreading the word
Consumer awareness of the value of using a CTC/CTM is another area the board wants to focus on, said Bennington.
“As much as we would like to, not having unlimited funds means CITC can’t go out and wrap a Toronto streetcar with a ‘use a travel agent who has a CTC/CTM’ message,” Bennington said.
“We are in discussions with several organizations about how we can partner to get the message out. Gone are the days when an organization like ours can go it alone. There is great power in partnerships and coalitions.”