Canadian Association of Tour Operators and Association of Tour Operators of Quebec Seeking Urgent Action and Financial Support to Save Jobs in the Travel Industry
CATO and ATOQ ask to receive mission-critical government support with expansion of SSUC
TORONTO, June 10, 2021 / CNW / – Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) and Association of Tour Operators of Quebec (ATOQ) seek urgent action and financial support for their struggling members. It is essential that they receive federal guidelines and clear deadlines before resuming international travel. The two associations are voluntary, made up of professional tour operators represented by owners and senior executives who campaign for the support of their sector of activity. They ask to receive the full support of the government with the extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (SSUC) at current level up to at least the 31st of Decemberst, 2021. To detail their significant contribution to the Canadian economy and the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on members, CATO and ATOQ published an economic impact assessment report.
CATO and ATOQ seek urgent action and financial support through the extension of SSUC to save jobs in the travel industry.
CATO and ATOQ represent the most respected travel agencies with offices across the country operating travel programs and packages of Canada to international, cross-border and inbound destinations Canada and intra-Canada. Collaboration between the two associations is underway. As tour operators, they are the financial backbone of the Canadian travel industry. They create trips all year round and are responsible for making them work in Canada and on seven continents and subcontracts various travel services, creating new jobs. Members work directly with valuable travel agents who sell their vacation packages and provide commissions to support partner agents. The two associations also supply a significant number of passengers traveling to and from various Canadian airlines.
“Tour operators who are members of CATO and ATOQ really appreciate the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (SSUC) that allowed us to retain employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we were nevertheless forced to lay off nearly 30% of our collective workforce, so we are fighting for our survival ”, mentionned Brett walker, president of CATO. “With advance bookings on average made six months before departure and borders still closed, there will be little or no return to international travel until 2022. With the SSUC depleted, the only way to close the gap and saving thousands of jobs is for the government to extend the SSUC at the current level for our members and those hardest hit until the end of 2021 ”, he concluded.
Due to the immense impact of the pandemic and the fact that travelers have been advised to avoid non-essential travel, members of CATO and ATOQ have been forced to temporarily and permanently lay off employees when travel has declined. halted as of March 2020. Women represent over 73% of their workforce and they are one of the most diverse and inclusive industries in Canada.
The Canadian travel industry has been at a standstill for 15 months due to the pandemic and without the government providing a clear roadmap for opening borders. As a result, revenues will continue to be 82% below 2019 levels. This will be the case for many months to come, as CATO and ATOQ’s new Economic Impact Assessment report states that the average advance reservation is made six months before departure. In Ontario and Quebec, all income generated by bookings is held in trust until the departure of the trips. This means that companies cannot use these funds to pay the salaries or commissions of travel agents, which typically return millions of dollars to the government in the form of payroll taxes (income tax, CPP, EI, and ISE). Without an extension of the SSUC to CATO and ATOQ members, their industry segment will have no choice but to lay off more people or permanently lay off employees. Canadian tour operators need at least six months to prepare and bridge the gap between opening international borders and earning income. In addition to guaranteeing accommodation, flights, tourist guides, tourist excursions, etc. clients, they must also coordinate health and wellness protocols in this new world of travel.
To avoid a prolonged hardship on the industry, the government must publicize updated criteria or clear guidelines for relaxing travel restrictions and reopening borders. Millions of Canadians work in tourism-related industries, but member tour operators have not received the basics their industry needs to survive.
The latest annual research by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) from its 2021 Global Economic Impact Reports found that in 2019, when global travel and tourism was booming and generating employment in the world. four in the world, the sector contributed 10.6% (334 million) of jobs worldwide. However, in 2020, 62 million jobs were lost globally, representing a drop of 18.5% and the number of people employed in the Canadian travel and tourism sector fell by nearly 1.8 million in 2019 to just over 1.4 million in 2020 – a decrease of 20.9%. The loss of 373,000 travel and tourism jobs nationwide has had an immense socio-economic impact. The WTTC findings also indicated that the contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the from Canada GDP fell by $ 59.2 billion in 2020.
For more information and to obtain a copy of the CATO and ATOQ Economic Impact Assessment Report, please contact the media representatives below. Spokespersons are available for interviews upon request.
Established in 1986, the Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) represents the most respected tour operators with offices in Canada, operating travel programs and travel packages of Canada to international destinations on seven continents, cross-border and inbound Canada and within Canada. Member tour operators are represented by their owners and senior executives who champion both their respective businesses and the industry as a whole. CATO is a non-profit association and the members are volunteers. CATO seeks to represent all facets and types of tour operators, in its efforts to strengthen the association and its voice in the industry, while continuing to represent tour operators on regulatory, legislative and other matters in Canada and abroad. For more information, please visit: cato.ca.
The Association of Tour Operators Quebec (ATOQ) represents some of the most respected companies operating in the Quebec travel market. Our members focus on outbound trips and offer organized tours as well as individual departing trips Quebec internationally, United States and Canadian destinations. ATOQ is a non-profit organization in operation since 2002. The role of ATOQ is to represent the interests of its members to the many players in the travel industry such as various government authorities and service providers. , the media and the public. An important part of the work of the ATOQ also consists in working together as much as possible with other Associations and Organizations representing other members of the travel distribution network.
SOURCE Canadian Association of Tour Operators
View original content to download multimedia: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/June2021/10/c5250.html