TCF overhaul “long overdue," says Turner

TCF overhaul “long overdue," says Turner
By admin

The government’s decision to overhaul travel agent regulation has been greeted with relief, but operators have predicted a long road ahead.

Flight Centre managing director and Australian Federation of Travel Agents board member Graham Turner said change was “long overdue”.

He referred to the figures that showed it had cost the Travel Compensation Fund in excess of $4 million to return just $15 million to consumers.

The collapse of Air Australia had also demonstrated the ineffectiveness of the scheme, with the TCF unable to help those affected.

“It now has $30 million in the bank and, despite this, still requires a company like Flight Centre Limited to contribute in excess of $600,000 per year,” he said. “Its requirements are an unnecessary burden from a financial and red-tape perspective, and the TCF can do nothing when the most significant events occur.”

Meanwhile, Mobile Travel Agents managing director Roy Merricks also welcomed a “likely reduction” in compliance costs.

“It is vital for our industry that Australian travel agents are competitive with non-Australian travel sellers who are now accessed more easily then ever before via the internet,” he said.

“This provides us with an excellent start point, it will definitely help, but there is so much more to do.”

Merricks predicted insurance would play a major part in the new consumer protection scheme.

“But this needs to reach further and protect travel agents from the credit card chargeback process where client funds have been passed on in good faith to suppliers and can’t be recovered,” he said.

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