TravelManagers calls on govt to extend TCF

TravelManagers calls on govt to extend TCF
By admin

TravelManagers has urged the government to let ATAS and the Travel Compensation Fund run side by side for six months to provide the travel industry with “more certainty and clarity” on the new scheme.

With just over a week to go until ATAS becomes operational, chairman Barry Mayo confirmed the company has been in talks with government departments across Australia and has met with New South Wales minister for fair trading Matthew Mason-Cox in his capacity as chair of the Legislative and Governance Forum on Consumer Affairs to voice concerns about the scheme.

Mayo insisted that the Australian Federation of Travel Agents had failed to provide answers and address issues raised by TravelManagers and other industry members regarding the scheme.

“We felt we had little option but to share our concerns with ministerial advisors and government departments,” he said.

“Of particular concern is consumer protection and our belief that ATAS accreditation should deliver the consumer some guarantee of protection against intermediary insolvency.”

The key objective of the meeting with Mason-Cox was to request a six-month extension of the TCF to December 31, meaning it will overlap with the start of ATAS.

“This will allow the travel industry to have time to obtain more certainty and clarity around the scheme and have an appropriate view of TAIFI and explore alternative insurance products,” Mayo said.

“It will also give security for consumers who may be impacted by the failure of a travel agent that does not properly account for their customers’ monies during this transition period.”

The TCF reserves of $27 million, due to be distributed among the state governments when it is finally wound up, would be better put to use to this end, according to Mayo.

“These industry funded reserves are the industry’s monies and should continue to be used to limit consumer losses to provide consumer certainty until there is sufficient time for all travel agents to understand TAIFI, obtain costs, explore alternatives and answer resulting underwriter inquiries,” he said.

He underlined TravelManagers' aim in lobbying state, territory and federal governments as to "highlight the seriousness of the issue".

"It could be argued that these Governments are abdicating their responsibilities for upholding consumer rights.

"The apparent lack of support and visibility in ensuring that ATAS has some form of meaningful consumer protection is a real concern.”

Mayo urged those with similar concerns to write to their state minister for consumer affairs.

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