ARTA Canada Supports TICO Board Member
David Shaw for Reelection
Two TICO AGM Motions
are Reviewed by ARTA Canada
Toronto, 29 August 2011: Canada's Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA Canada) announced today that it has given its full support to the reelection of TICO Board Member David Shaw, Evans Intravel, Orillia, Ontario, to another term on the TICO board of directors.
"David is an accomplished, fair, and experienced board member whose additional term on the TICO board will serve registrants extremely well. David has always championed the rights and concerns of small to medium size travel agencies, and ARTA Canada is pleased to offer its support for David's reelection", said ARTA Canada President Bruce Bishins, CTC.
In other TICO matters, ARTA Canada has also reviewed two motions proposed for consideration at the AGM by Darren Swidler of TruExperiences Tours, Toronto:
1. A motion to create a vehicle to more effectively seek assistance when complaining about TICO itself including, poor or misleading information, TICO staff conduct, or TICO mistakes, such as misunderstandings, omissions, or oversights. The motion also seeks to create a registrant "Bill of Rights" and an ombudsman to outline and address issues when registrants feel that they have been improperly or unfairly handled by TICO.
2. A motion that the Review Engagement requirement for registrants with less than ten million dollars in sales be eliminated and replaced with a requirement that registrants submit annual financial statements with a Notice to Reader instead.
On the issue of the motion to make TICO more effective and responsible in dealing with complaints stemming from allegations of TICO's own mishandling or misinformation, ARTA Canada believes this matter is long overdue. An arms-length ombudsman, adhering to a "Bill of Rights", has always been lacking at TICO, giving rise, instead, to TICO reviewing and disciplining itself. Today's existing oversight from within is not only poor internal governance, but a bias against resolving issues which TICO cannot effectively address by itself about itself.
On the issue of the motion to eliminate costly Review Engagements, and instead replace same with a more affordable Notice to Reader for agencies with less than 10 million dollars in sales, ARTA Canada generally supports any reasonable reduction in regulatory burdens, particularly on small to medium size travel agencies. Review Engagements are a throwback to the past when many, if not most, retail registrants were also IATA accredited and a Review Engagement was required for IATA anyway.
While ARTA Canada supports proper financial statements as a key to assuring that registrants meet acceptable risk criteria, a Notice to Reader may be sufficient enough to provide TICO with a correctly structured financial statement for its evaluation purposes. With some registrants having moved away from IATA accreditation and deploying other methods of selling air travel, including host agencies and direct web sales, the costs imposed on smaller agencies for a Review Engagement may no longer be justified solely for TICO.
ARTA Canada would prefer to see TICO engage more analytical, ratios, and comparative financial evaluation rather than principally relying on an annual financial statement which has never proven to be the best measure of risk or ongoing financial trends well-after the date of its creation. Furthermore, other Ontario consumer protection authorities, such as the Real Estate Council of Ontario, do not impose such financial details on its registrants, and realtors generally handle far greater sums of monies for consumers. ARTA Canada will query Ontario agencies on their position regarding Review Engagements and the realistic costs which affect them. ARTA Canada's final position on the matter will be established prior to the TICO AGM.
The TICO AGM will be held at 4:00PM on Tuesday, 27 September 2011, at the Toronto Congress Centre, 650 Dixon Road, Toronto, Ontario. ARTA Canada encourages all registrants to attend.
About ARTA Canada
ARTA Canada is the largest non-profit federally incorporated professional association of travel retailers in Canada, the members of which consist exclusively of travel agencies and travel agents. In addition to advocating fair and equitable treatment of travel consumers, ARTA Canada represents the commercial and strategic interests of its member travel agencies and travel agents in a variety of national and provincial domains including regulatory and legislative matters, automation, technology, sales and marketing, and distribution.
ARTA Canada is the strategic partner in Canada of the U.S.-based Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA). For complete details about ARTA Canada's new $99 membership campaign or to join ARTA Canada, including secure payment on our web site, please visit www.artacanada.ca/join.