Industry urged to engage as final ATAS workshops begin

Industry urged to engage as final ATAS workshops begin
By admin


The third and final round of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents’ ATAS workshops kicks off today, with chief executive Jayson Westbury citing “strong support” from the industry despite ongoing concerns over the scheme’s lack of mandatory consumer protection.

The “Becoming Travel Accredited” workshops commence in Brisbane today, with AFTA revealing the event is oversubscribed.

“This is the result of nine months of intense planning and consultation,” Westbury said.

“AFTA set out to deliver on our reform objectives of elevating travel industry standards, reducing the burden of compliance and cost on travel intermediaries, and introducing a level playing field while erasing the inconsistencies which existed between state-based licensing requirements.”

He reported “already high” demand to become accredited under the scheme, and was confident this latest round of workshops would further boost that further.

The workshops will be led by general manager accreditation Gary O’Riordan who said the goal of the sessions is to ensure “widespread communication and engagement” on the scheme.

“We have collaborated extensively and worked with the industry to develop the ATAS solution. We are in the home stretch and are so grateful for the ongoing industry support and feedback,” he said.

However, a recent study by the Australian Travel Agent Barometer showed that confusion remains among agents over how the scheme will impact them after the termination of the Travel Compensation Fund (TCF). Insurance options emerged as a particular area of concern with more than 70% of agents of the opinion that insolvency insurance should be a mandatory part of the scheme.

TravelManagers chairman Barry Mayo highlighted this confusion as grave cause for concern.

“TravelManagers continue to view this as the most important issue facing the travel agent community and its supplier partners in 2014 and is disheartened with the level of confusion within the industry on such an important issue,” he said.

The home-based firm has responded to this by producing its own document detailing the differences between ATAS and the TCF and how these will affect travel agents and suppliers.

“We feel it is important to engage in further industry discussion on ATAS and encourage the travel agent community and its supplier partners to read the accompanying chart and attend the upcoming ATAS workshops, starting in Brisbane today, to ensure robust discussion and clear understanding,” Mayo said.

“It is imperative ATAS delivers real value to both the travel industry and the consumer.

"We understand and support ATAS is the future, however we do not want to see a flawed ATAS weaken the public perception of travel agents and their confidence in travel agents organizing their travel.”

Additional ATAS “Becoming Travel Accredited” workshops will be held in Perth (20 May), Adelaide (21 May), Melbourne (28 May) and Sydney (29 May). Anyone interested in attending can register online here

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