Westbury chastises accreditation scheme critics

Westbury chastises accreditation scheme critics
By admin

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents has stood by the voluntary nature of its new accreditation scheme (ATAS), accusing companies questioning the ongoing reform as doing so for their own commercial gain.

Speaking at the first of the transitional workshops which will run into December, chief executive Jayson Westbury claimed the new scheme offers flexibility through its offer of a variety of insolvency insurance options.

“This is exactly the reason the scheme is optional so companies can choose the structure that best suits them,” he said.

“We already have proof of the success of the voluntary approach with the New Zealand model and ATAS builds on that approach to deliver a solution tailored to the Australian marketplace.”

Westbury insisted that the new scheme caters to the diversity of the industry and will “elevate” standards while supporting both agents and consumers through its multiple insurance options.

“The simple fact is that without AFTA none of this would be possible,” he said.

“It seems to me that those agents and organisations that want to question this reform, while in the middle of implementation, do so for their own commercial gain rather than for the good of the industry at large.”

ATAS addresses the two “major failings” of the Travel Compensation Fund, according to Westbury, who identified those as its restricted scope in a distribution landscape that is increasingly seeing consumers book online, and also its lack of consumer awareness, with 97% of the public unaware of its existence.

“The ATAS reforms bring the travel sector into line with the rest of the Australian economy through the application of Australian consumer law, corporations law and industry-specific measures and oversight as the principle protection mechanisms,” he said.

“It also provides a far more level and consistent playing field for the Australian travel industry while restricting red‚Äêtape and raising consumer awareness of the benefits of dealing with ATAS participants.”

The added insolvency insurance options that will also be made available under the scheme are a significant additional benefit that “simply was not an option” under the TCF, he added.

Meanwhile, the workshops continue with industry members urged to come and provide their feedback. They arrive in Adelaide today, Brisbane on November 19, Sydney on November 20, Melbourne on November 21, Darwin on November 26, Hobart on November 28 and Perth on December 2.

To register visit http://aftamembers.memnet.com.au/AFTATravelAccreditationSchemetransitionalwork.aspx.


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