Travel Agencies

by Female Abroad

I'm sure that you have heard of a travel agency, but what is it that they do? Besides doing research on your trip, they also function as sales representatives for various suppliers (airlines, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and tours, etc.), and while some are specialized, there are a few that do it all. Behind the scenes, it is a little harder to sell travel than just deciding to book things for people, and the reason for that is due to all of the fly-by-nights and bankruptcies that happened in the 1990s, causing the governments to step in.

Within Canada, what you are selling requires different certifications and licensing, some of which are:

  1. You must obtain IATA accreditation to issue international airline tickets, ATAC ( Air Transport Association of Canada) accreditation to issue domestic tickets, or IATA accreditation to sell their airline partners.
  2. If you are selling insurance, then you must be licensed to do so, and not every province will allow outside travel agencies to sell to their residents (ex., if someone in Alberta buys a travel product from a BC agent, the BC agent has to sell the Alberta person insurance as per BC law). However, as per Alberta law, the BC agency cannot sell insurance to the Alberta person as the BC agency is outside of Alberta. That was a fun one to find a loophole with.
  3. Depending on your province, you might have to be licensed to sell travel to its residents.

Being a travel agent or working for an agency, there are also different affiliations that they can have with the three most popular being:

  1. UFTAA - Universal Federation of Travel Agent’s Associations: global federation of travel agent associations
  2. ACTA (the Association of Canadian Travel Agents): a not-for-profit association for the travel industry
  3. CITC (the Canadian Institute of Travel Counsellors): not-for- profit association for individual travel professionals

There is a lot more than just these basics to get a travel agency running and I'm just simplifying the process in this article but keep reading my other posts as they start to weave the larger picture together.