TICO (Travel Industry Council of Ontario) is a governing body of
the travel industry in Ontario. Itís a government
organization that oversees Ontario travel agents and travel-related
businesses. If youíre not registered with them, youíre
not allowed to have a travel business in Ontario. Once your
business is registered, you must present your financial statements
to TICO once a year and meet certain financial requirements in
order to retain this license.
Here are 7 questions to help you get started:
1. Why do we need TICO?
TICO was created in response to a very serious problem.
Previously, some fraudulent travel agents would take money from
customers, promise to arrange travel and take off with the money.
The Ontario government set up TICO in order to restore confidence
in the industry.
2. How does the registration process work?
The TICO registration process is a bit time-consuming, taking up
to six months in some cases. In addition to filling out required
forms, some members of management will have to go through criminal
background checks. With that in mind, itís important that you
leave time for these steps before launching a travel business, as
you canít start operations until you receive your
3. What if you donít register?
If you forget to register for TICO, you will be asked to correct
this oversight. If you still donít register after that
happens, youíre knowingly breaking the law, making your
company susceptible to fines or, in extreme cases, being shut
4. How do you stay out of trouble?
Once you register with TICO, there are certain operational
guidelines you need to follow. And itís not just financial
statements that are required. From time to time, TICO will come in
and perform an audit to make sure your business is up to their
standards, so itís essential you get regular advice from a
professional on how to meet minimum requirements.
5. What do you need to know about working capital?
Thereís a financial ratio that you need to meet at all
times. If the minimum required working capital isnít in
place, TICO will ask you to correct that, so you stay in compliance
with this standard.
6. Is any travel business exempt?
Quite a few event planners have been setting up businesses that
include travel services and they are also required to register for
TICO. However, businesses providing tours that last for less than
one day donít need to be registered. For example, a tour
guide running their own day-long tours doesnít need to
register Ė unless heís providing overnight
7. What are the advantages?
Consumers benefit from TICO, but so do the businesses that
register. Registration confirms that your business is providing the
services youíre advertising with no hidden agenda. TICO
registration works in much the same way as a Better Business Bureau
seal of approval. If a business is registered, you know they
wonít take your money and run away. It gives consumers
confidence that they are dealing with a legitimate business.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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