After two years at the helm of ACITA (Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors), Judith Coates has announced that she will be stepping down.

“On June 28, we celebrated our two-year anniversary, and reflected on all that has been accomplished”, said Coates. “We have a lot to be proud of, and have come really far as a grass-roots organization.”

The past two years have been intense, as ACITA mobilized Independent Travel Advisors to secure meetings with their elected officials, facilitated over 350 meetings over zoom, and continued to put pressure on Federal Cabinet Ministers to provide commission protection and financial aid to Independent Travel Advisors. These ITA’s are Small Business owners but had fallen into a policy gap because, for the most part, they are Sole Proprietors and didn’t qualify for funding that was given to Incorporated Small Businesses.

Coates observed: “We have seen significant wins over the past two years, and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the many Independent Travel Advisors who supported us by attending zoom meetings, helping out with email campaigns and working tirelessly to keep the flame going.”

That flame was started by a little spark in June, 2020 when Coates secured a meeting with her MP, Bruce Stanton, at the prompting of her Host Agency Founder, Flemming Friisdahl.

When she extended an invitation to have other ITA’s join her, the response was overwhelming and it became apparent that there was interest amongst ITA’s in working together to advocate for support.

Brenda Slater and Nancy Wilson were among those at that initial meeting. Soon afterwards, Coates, Slater & Wilson put their heads together and formed a private Facebook group just for Independent Travel Advisors.

ACITA soon became a buzz-word and the group quickly grew to 2,000 members. ITA’s were wondering how they would survive the travel shut-downs, and were looking for some direction on what they could do protect themselves from lost revenues & commission claw-backs.

It was also the vehicle to rally this growing group of ITA’s, providing the platform of zoom meetings to inform and educate Members of Parliament on the revenue model of this sector of the Travel Industry.

What’s next for Coates?

“Well, travel is my passion, and I will continue to be active in the industry that I love,” said Coates, who will now dedicate her time to serving her clients and growing her business, still with TTAND but newly branded as Wired for Travel. Coates will also remain a passionate advocate for Independent Travel Advisors. “I have met so many amazing Independent Travel Advisors in the past 2 years, and we have proven that together, we are stronger, and that ‘community over competition’ wins the race.”

“As the ACITA motto says, ‘We Are Not Done Yet,’ and I wish the entire hard-working ACITA team and my colleagues, Brenda and Nancy, all the best in their future endeavours,” Coates said.



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