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A New Era for the Australian Travel Industry

July 2, 2014 Corporate No Comments Email Email

After five years of extensive discussion, analysis and consultation, the Australian travel industry enters a new era today with the commencement of the industry-led accreditation scheme, ATAS.

“ATAS participation already reflects the majority of the industry in terms of turnover, and agents with a growing list of independents and majors already accredited including Flight Centre, Helloworld, Magellan, MTA, CTM, TravelPartners, Travel Counsellors, Travellers Choice, and the Travel Corporation while key industry bodies including CATO have also thrown their weight behind it,” AFTA CEO Jayson Westbury said.

“Our industry can now operate within a flexible, equitable framework which accommodates the significant diversity of the Australian travel industry, applies the rigor of Australian Consumer Law, accommodates the evolution of the way consumers buy travel, and which more fairly spreads responsibility across the entire industry rather than just travel agents.”

In addition to the baseline consumer protection that all businesses must adhere to under Australian Consumer Law, for the first time, ATAS agency owners and their customers will now be protected by mandatory professional indemnity and public liability insurance.

“ATAS further enhances the professionalism of the travel sector in Australia, mirroring those schemes in place for most other professions,” Mr Westbury said.  “For the first time, accredited agents will be required to have professional indemnity insurance to ensure that the advice they provide can be relied on, just as you do for a doctor or a lawyer, which is fundamental for the future success of the travel sector.  This new structure brings the oversight of the travel sector in line with other professions across the country. This can only be a good thing for our industry and consumers alike. Simple fact – the future just arrived.“

Australia is leading the way internationally in a de-regulated environment by introducing ATAS as a form of professional industry acknowledgement while showcasing the value of booking through agents.

“The USA de-regulated approach where consumer protection is provided via federal laws is not very different to our consumer law framework and the reputation of the 14,000-plus travel agents is outstanding,” Mr Westbury said. “A key focus of AFTA and Government is to showcase those benefits to consumers. This never happened under the previous regime.”

“Australia is leading the way in a de-regulated environment by introducing ATAS as a form of professional industry acknowledgement, something that very few de-regulated countries offer. To base the professional standing of the industry’s future on the back of bailout schemes is not looking to the way travel agents need to be viewed in an ever more globally competitive environment.”

“Professional travel agents have much to offer and the value proposition for the future must not be based on the notion of insolvency being fixed via a bail out scheme as the only way the industry can put itself forward as reputable”

Travel Agents and intermediaries can now apply to become ATAS accredited via

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