The AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS) recently celebrated its first birthday, with about 3500 travel agent locations around Australia having signed up.
AFTA says ATAS is now widely recognised, having achieved 19% recognition among Australian consumers, or 1 in 5, according to a survey conducted by consumer group CHOICE, the results of which are due to be released this week. Another CHOICE survey has been aimed at agents.
The questions in the survey will be of interest. The public might be expected to recognise the name AFTA more than ATAS, simply because the AFTA brand has been around for 58 years, since 1957. ATAS is just over one year old, but AFTA has been promoting it heavily.
AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury was reported last week as saying AFTA has so far spent AUD 700,000 on promoting ATAS to consumers, largely through social media, backed by ads in Virgin and Qantas in-flight magazines.
CHOICE is working in a similar field, having last year reached agreement with state and territory governments to set up a Consumer Travel Hub project “to identify issues with travel providers, products and services, and bring these issues to the attention of governments, regulators and industry,” as a CHOICE statement put it at the time.
The project in which CHOICE is involved is being funded to the tune of AUD 2.8 million over four and a half years, provided from the now-defunct Travel Compensation Fund (TCF). The TCF funds derive from money paid by travel agents.
“This matches the funding already provided to the Australian Federation of Travel Agents to set up a voluntary self-accreditation scheme [ATAS] from 1 July 2014,” CHOICE said at the time.
“Funding has also been provided to state and territory governments to raise awareness about the changes to the travel industry.”
Written by Peter Needham