AFTA View – July 2012
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Planning for life after the TCF; congratulations to NTIA winners
By Jay Westbury, chief executive Australian Federation
of Travel Agents
AFTER what feels like a lifetime, but in fact has been some three and a half years, we have finally made some progress in the review of consumer protection in the travel industry.
This Consumer Affairs Ministers met in Adelaide this month and agreed to commence a transition from the current legislative framework including travel agent licensing and compulsory participation in the Travel Compensation Fund (TCF) to a new set of arrangements that will ultimately see the end of the TCF as it is currently structured.
AFTA has been working with the state governments on this reform for the past three and a half years, but in reality the industry has been wanting reform for more than a decade.
The ministers have indicated at this stage that transition arrangements will be further developed over the coming months and I expect that implementation of the new arrangements may well commence in 2013, however as this is very new information I do not have all the specifics at the time of writing.
I am of course most pleased that reform is to take place. Rest assured that as soon as detail is available all industry stakeholders will be advised.
Also this month AFTA celebrated along with 950 industry colleague’s the 2012 National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA) in Sydney.
We also recognised the 55 year anniversary of the formation of AFTA and awarded anniversary plaques to
both Travelscene American Express Kempsey and Avis as the two organisations that have been continuous members of AFTA all this time.
On top of that, the AFTA board bestowed life membership on Tom Goldman of Goldman Travel who himself celebrated 50 years as a travel agent in 2012.
The life membership was awarded to Tom to recognise not only his service to the travel agency community on the former NSW state chapter and the board of AFTA, but also as an acknowledgement that someone can be a very successful travel agent for 50 years and still be going strong – demonstrated by the fact that he was travelling overseas on the awards night.
A very big congratulations to Tom on his achievements. All those present on the night joined him in celebrating his ongoing career.
NTIA this year was once again a very big success. Great memories, new friends and re acquaintances with industry colleagues were forged during the evening as has happened in the past and the excitement for all the winners was electric on the night.
Congratulations to all the 150-plus finalists and well done to all the winners in every category.
AFTA continues to be 100 per cent committed to the NTIA as it is felt that this night of nights brings everyone together to celebrate as one, leaving all the competitive thoughts at the door so that the evening can be a big celebration of travel agents and the travel industry.
As always, nights as big as the NTIA could never happen without the wonderful support of Qantas as the major sponsor and all the sponsors that continues to get involved each year.
And this year once again with the support of Singapore Airlines the AFTA after party provided a wonderful backdrop for everyone to enjoy and continued to celebrate in a responsible way.
Thank you to everyone involved in the 2012 NTIA and we look forward to another big event in 2013.
Jay Westbury’s AFTA View column appears monthly.