Planning for future starts now: AFTA

Planning for future starts now: AFTA
By admin

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) is forming a working group to map out the mechanisms of a voluntary accreditation scheme for travel agents with the first meeting to take place later this week.

As the dust settles on Friday's decision by consumer affairs minsters to formally scrap the Travel Compensation Fund, AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury said work will begin immediately on drawing up plans for a post-TCF and post-licensing travel landscape.

A teleconference board meeting was held earlier today with a newly-formed, six-strong Travel Industry Transition Plan Working Group, comprising AFTA board and non-board members, to meet on Thursday.

Members of the working group are being finalised.

"We are now masters and commanders of our own destiny," Westbury told Travel Today. "Now is the time to have robust debate about the way we wish to regulate ourselves."

The working group will draw up detailed plans for the accreditation scheme while "compensation remedies" will also be discussed.

He rejected criticism that details of a new scheme should have been finalised before a decision to scrap the TCF and formal travel agent licensing was made.

"There has never been significant work done [on a new scheme] because until such time as we got clear and concise signals from the government that they were willing do to this, what was the point spending an enormous amount of efforts on what may never actually have come?" Westbury said. "Now we know, we can get on with it.

He said work on devising a voluntary accreditation scheme should be completed by March.

While the working group will look at potential commercial compensation – such as via insurance policies – agency groups may decide to draw up their own schemes, he said. The possibility of networks becoming "mini TCF's" – a solution revealed by Travel Today last month – remained, Westbury said.

"No one was ever going to get down and dirty in the nitty gritty of those discussions until they knew for sure that the TCF was going to go," he said.

Westbury emphasised that any future scheme "would be nothing like the TCF".



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