Agency group backs away from AFTA scheme

Agency group backs away from AFTA scheme
By admin

Travel Counsellors yesterday confirmed that it will offer its own financial protection for consumers after claiming the Australian public has grown “wary” following a number of major industry collapses.

The network’s chairman, David Speakman, said the level of financial protection proposed under the Australian Federation of Travel Agents voluntary accreditation scheme is not yet credible.

Travel Counsellors will not sign up for the scheme, he added.

AFTA declined to comment.

Under its financial protection plan, Travel Counsellors said “everything booked through the company will be fully protected from financial loss from third party default”.

Precise details about how it will work were not disclosed.

Speakman said he was concerned that holidaymakers would be left with inadequate protection once the Travel Compensation Fund (TCF) shuts down next year.

“Over the last few years there have been a number of high profile collapses within the travel industry in Australia so consumers, rightly, are wary,” he said. “We were concerned that as the TCF is set to disband on July 1, consumers may be in danger of losing their hard earned cash if a travel provider fails.

“We had an initial discussion with AFTA regarding its planned accreditation scheme.  While we may consider joining in the future, we feel that challenges remain for AFTA in delivering a credible all-encompassing level of financial protection to all consumers.”

He added: “Our new scheme will ensure our Travel Counsellors don’t need to worry about anything they sell as everything booked through them will be financially protected.”

Speakman repeated comments made earlier to Travel Today that “putting customer money at risk is not acceptable”.

He said agents’ who offer financial protection could be “besmirched” by those who do not, leading to a general distrust of the industry.

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