Scheme will “not be Mickey Mouse": AFTA

Scheme will “not be Mickey Mouse": AFTA
By admin


Retail travel groups could become “mini Travel Compensation Funds” in a move that could provide some form of financial protection for consumers.

Jayson Westbury, chief executive of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), suggested business insurance products could evolve that could come to the aid of consumers left out of pocket by a travel agency collapse.

The comments came as Westbury insisted a proposed new accreditation scheme would “not be a Mickey Mouse thing”.

Speaking to Travel Today at the Travellers Choice conference in the Hunter Valley at the weekend, Westbury said branded groups “could think about how they can put their own protections in place” if, as AFTA hopes, a proposal to reform travel agency licensing and consumer compensation is approved.

“There may be business to business insurance products that might evolve where a branded group could contemplate taking out insurance that would afford some form of compensation in the event of one of their stores failing,” he said. “So their head office could become, if you like, a mini TCF.

“I am not saying that is going to happen but there is a prospect of it.”

Discussions are taking place, he said.

Westbury said its planned accreditation scheme, that would replace licensing, could include some form of financial check on travel agents, although he stressed that “prudential oversight” would not be a central plank of the scheme.

“It maybe, but only maybe, that you have to provide evidence that you have done your tax return to be in the accreditation scheme,” he said. “If you have a certain turnover you may need to provide you P&L signed by an accountant.”

Earlier in his presentation to agents at the Travellers Choice conference, Westbury told agents it will “not be a Mickey Mouse” scheme.

“It will have hurdles to jump over but nowhere near as high as TCF hurdles,” he said.

“There will not be financial criteria, there will not be bonding because there will be no compensation scheme,” he said. “But there will be acknowledgment about how long you have been in the industry, acknowledgment of your training and the training of staff and that you comply with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission code of conduct.”

He emphasised that AFTA is looking for $3 million from TCF reserves to set up the scheme with a further $6m to educate consumers of the need to book with an accredited agent.

“One of them most important aspects will be a consistent and committed approach to driving consumers through accredited agents,” he said. “One of the failings of the TCF is that is has never done that.”

Precise details of how the scheme will operate will be drawn up if the plan is approved at the pivotal Consumer Affairs meeting on December 7.

Latest News

  • Tour Operators
  • Travel Weekly TV

What sets Eclipse Travel apart with Africa expert Hilary Dubyk: Travel Weekly TV

Join Hilary and Nancy on the couch in the weeks episode and learn a little more about why Hilary loves ‘the Mother Continent’ so much and why she thinks the expedition cruise space is one of the most exciting to watch in 2024. Hilary is an absolute Africa specialist who has found a home in […]

  • Destinations
  • Tourism

Surge in Australians visiting Japan

The number of Australians visiting Japan in the first quarter of 2024 increased by 46.3% compared to the same period in 2019, new data released by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) shows. Visitor numbers in March alone were up a staggering 87.4% compared to March 2019. “These figures are fantastic to see and confirm what […]

  • Cruise
  • Luxury
  • News

Seabourn announces Western Kimberley Traditional Owners as Godparents of Seabourn Pursuit

Seabourn has named Western Kimberley Traditional Owners, the Wunambal Gaambera, as Godparents of the ultra-luxury purpose-built Seabourn Pursuit. It is the first cruise line to appoint Traditional Owners as godparents of a ship. Seabourn Pursuit embarks on its inaugural season in the Kimberley region this June. The naming ceremony will take place on Seabourn Pursuit’s […]

  • Luxury

Malolo Island Resort opens brand new Spa

Fiji’s Malolo Island has added another string to its bow – opening its $1.3 million day spa on Thursday, 18th April 2024. (Lead Image: matriarch Rosie Whitton with spa staff) Located at the edge of the resort’s luscious patch of tropical rainforest, the new “Leilani’s Spa” adds another level of elevated experiences to Malolo’s already […]