Travel Agents

Critics flaring ATAS debate to focus on “bigger picture”

Daisy Melwani

On the back of six agency failures in 12 months, one travel group argues industry deregulation isn’t at fault.

Mobile Travel Agents co-director has spoken out against renewed debate spurred by the collapse of six travel agencies in the 12 months since deregulation of the Australian travel industry, agreeing productive discourse was a “good thing” but the industry “must not lose sight of the bigger picture”.

Responding to comments questioning the credibility of a deregulated travel industry in recent weeks, MTA co-managing director, Roy Merricks said while deregulation and later formation of ATAS on July 1 2014 was initially instigated by AFTA, it also drew “on wide ranging industry consultation across a more than five year period”.

“There was nothing to be gained by change simply for the sake of change,” Merricks said.

“But the quality of the data in a Regulatory Impact Statement was compelling enough to result in a balanced conclusion as evidenced by government ratification state by state across the country which in itself was no mean feat.”

Merricks added that while the agency failures occurred in the post-deregulated environment, “the reality is that the market is no longer localised geographically and product and process innovation are likely to have much larger consumer welfare effects overall”.

“Simply because they can happen now, comprehensive consumer financial guarantees continue to evolve and be developed by several industry networks, all of which are intended to provide consumer protection limited to the insolvency of any of its members, effectively replacing the former TCF consumer protection,” Merricks said.

MTA were one of the first agency groups to launch its own consumer protection scheme, Zero Flight Risk™, with a multitude of others following suit with various degrees of client funds protection against intermediary or supplier insolvency.

“One year on from deregulation, there is also no doubt the travel landscape has changed and will continue to change,” Merricks said.

“But at the end of the day, the bigger picture comes back to education and elevation of standards (ATAS) and continues to be the progressive way forward.”



SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Conferences

PHOTOS: ATE goes off with a bang

If you’re like one unlucky Travel Weekly reporter who has COVID, these pics will help you live vicariously through the conference-goers.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas’ new long-haul flights could cost over $18,000

For this price, we’d hope that the flights come with a complimentary mani-pedi and a pet bunny called “Fluffy” to keep us company during the flight.

Share

CommentComments

Returned special events to hit Seoul this month

The Travel Weekly criteria for what makes an event special is whether they have Tim Tams – although we can make exceptions for international events.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Intrepid debuts its first all-female leadership team

Rumour has it, Beyoncé’s Run the World (Girls) could be heard blasting from Intrepid’s Australia office moments after they announced this news.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

“Bounce back and inspire”: Collette to host key players in Cairns

We’re headed to sunny Cairns this week to rub shoulders with travel’s big wigs at Collette’s annual big bash. See you there!

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

REVIEW: Hôtel La Pérouse offers a taste of classic French resort life

by Ali Coulton

Hôtel La Pérouse exemplifies Nice’s resort lifestyle offering privacy and quiet luxury on France’s Cote d’Azur.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Yas Island Abu Dhabi’s new tourism ad names Kevin Hart its chief island officer

Some of the staff at Travel Weekly are trying to become the chief island officer of Australia, but Scomo isn’t returning our emails.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

“Australia is a terrific market for cruising!”: Expedia’s Greg Schulze on how agents can maximise their business

We chatted with one of the big wigs at Expedia during its recent gathering in Vegas. Sadly, he declined our invite to join us for a game of blackjack, but that’s probably for the best.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Globetrotting tour operator arrested following drug drop death

The man also auditioned for Survivor in 2019 and featured in an Indonesian TV commercial – just in case the title wasn’t chaotic enough already.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Travel to make full recovery before end of 2024, says Virtuoso’s Fiona Dalton

Dalton hosted media at Crown Sydney this morning to celebrate Matthew Upchurch’s return to Aus. Our roving journalist managed to take down this story in between courses.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Hawai‘i Tourism Oceania celebrates the ‘Month of Lei’ with incredible new famil offer

by Sponsored by Hawai'i Tourism Oceania

This year, Hawai‘i Tourism Oceania is celebrating ‘Month of Lei’ 2022 with a virtual trade event and the launch of a new famil incentive.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

PONANT announces new 2023 sailing expeditions in the Kimberley

This ship is so fancy that they put ‘le’ in front of the name just to show they’re not messing about.

Share

CommentComments