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Final workshops loom for voluntary ATAS travel agent scheme

March 19, 2014 Corporate, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) will host another series of workshops throughout May, to support the opening of applications for the AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS).

The voluntary nature of the ATAS scheme has aroused controversy, with critics warning of a major backlash in the consumer media if any collapse occurs after its introduction and clients are left unprotected.

State licensing of travel agents and the consumer protection afforded by the Travel Compensation Fund (TCF) through the financial oversight of travel agents will cease from 30 June 2014.

TravelManagers, in particular, has expressed major concerns about ATAS and says that while it “reluctantly accepts” that ATAS membership will be voluntary, it continues to feel “that all ATAS members should be required to have Travel Intermediary Insolvency Insurance”.

“TravelManagers view this as the most important issue facing the travel agency community and its supplier partners in 2014,” said chairman Barry Mayo.

The consumer group CHOICE has similar reservations, having pointed out that the soon-to-vanish TCF has “paid more than AUD 60 million in compensation to consumers left high and dry when agents have gone bust, such as when a Sydney-based cruise company went into administration” in 2012.

But the ATAS scheme is proceeding regardless and the new, final series of workshops will outline how travel intermediaries can apply to become PTM_250-x-250“travel accredited”, showcase the new AFTA website (which will launch in April), the online application process, ATAS marketing initiatives, and provide an overview of the supporting consumer awareness campaign to take place when the scheme officially launches from 1 July this year.

ATAS general manager, Gary O’Riordan says that the “ATAS – Becoming Travel Accredited” workshops will complete the series of workshops which started with the Industry Consultation Workshops in August last year; the Transitional Workshops during November and December; and culminating with the May workshops – on “how to become travel accredited” and the benefits it affords travel intermediaries.

Workshops will commence mid May and AFTA encourages is encouraging agents to save the dates or pre-register their interest by emailing atas@afta.com.au.

The dates are:

  • Brisbane Thursday 15th May 11am-1pm
  • Perth Tuesday 20th May 9am-11am
  • Adelaide Wednesday 21st May 10am-12pm
  • Melbourne Wednesday 28th May 10am-12pm
  • Sydney Thursday 29th May 10am-12pm 

Written by : Peter Needham

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