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ATAS Survey Proves Travel Agents Need More Information

May 16, 2014 Mobile travel consulting No Comments Email Email

A recent travel agency survey on the Australian Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS) conducted by Australian Travel Agent Barometer has found that 55% of agents surveyed said they required more information, with at least 25% of these same agents saying they had little or no understanding of the ATAS scheme or how it would operate.

As at 31 December 3,093 head offices were identified as members of the Travel Compensation Fund (TCF), and if these percentages are representative of the travel agent industry this would result in 1,700 agents saying they require more information with 425 of these same agents saying that they have little or no understanding of ATAS.Dusit-Hot-Deals-Banner-250x250-06

“TravelManagers continue to view this as the most important issue facing the travel agent community and its supplier partners in 2014 and is disheartened with the level of confusion within the industry on such an important issue,” says TravelManagers’ Chairman, Barry Mayo.

Following on from the survey results TravelManagers has offered clarity to the industry by establishing a document that identifies the differences between ATAS and the TCF and how these differences effect travel agents and suppliers.

“TravelManagers feels strongly about this issue and hopes this succinct explanation of ATAS and how it differs to the TCF provides clarity,” says Mayo.

Other key survey findings as provided by Australian Travel Agent Barometer are:

·         Over 80% of agents want a national consumer campaign with consumer protection guaranteed as part of ATAS

·         80% of agents agree a national accreditation scheme is important

·         78% of AFTA agents said consumer protection should be compulsory and think it is unacceptable for some agents to have insurance and some not

·         77% of travel agents completing the poll were members of AFTA

·         55% of agents are unsure or won’t sign up for ATAS because ATAS does not require compulsory insolvency insurance and expressed the view that ATAS will lack credibility

·         23% of agents surveyed will not take up any of the 3 ATAS insolvency policies ATAS has organized

TravelManagers has been very open from the outset around its concerns and reservations of ATAS having also voiced these concerns directly with AFTA.

“We feel it is important to engage in further industry discussion on ATAS and encourage the travel agent community and its supplier partners to read the accompanying chart and attend the upcoming ATAS workshops, starting in Brisbane today, to ensure robust discussion and clear understanding.  It is imperative ATAS delivers real value to both the travel industry and the consumer. We understand and support ATAS is the future, however we do not want to see a flawed ATAS weaken the public perception of travel agents and their confidence in travel agents organizing their travel,” says Mayo.

ATAS will become a reality on 01 July 2014.

“We urge the travel agent community to be actively discussing the pros and cons of ATAS as the time remaining for any refinement to the scheme is now less than six weeks. Consumer confidence in retail travel distribution is critical because without it your business and the perception of the travel agent industry could change forever,” says Mayo.

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