AFTA View – July 2013

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Jason Westbury$2.8m funding will help to ‘future proof’ our industry

By Jay Westbury, chief executive Australian Federation
of Travel Agents


AS they say in the classics “a week is a long time in politics” well so is three years… The Hon Kevin Rudd MP Prime Minister is back. And clearly from the number of flights he has already taken he is literally just getting back on the plane he got off all those years ago.

Having made a joke of this, it is very serious. For one, we still don’t know when the election will be. This is not good for consumer confidence and the sooner the Prime Minister makes a decision on this the better for everyone.

Meanwhile I am very pleased that AFTA has been awarded the $2.8 million grant for the establishment and implementation of the accreditation scheme. This will mean we can get this right and set up something that will offer a real value proposition to agency owners and deliver the professional standards that the industry wants.

One thing that I have said all the way along this journey of reform is that we need to future proof the industry and there is no doubt that the accreditation scheme will deliver this.

We also continue to engage with the global insurance market as we develop the underpinning commercial solutions to some of the vexed questions about supplier default insurance protection and indeed travel agency insolvency protection.

I remain confident that these products will come to market in concert with the accreditation scheme so that by the time the travel agents Acts are repealed in June 2014, and the TCF ceases to operate in 2015 a full and robust industry-led future proof solution will be delivered to the industry at large.

These are exciting history making times and I feel privileged to be a part of this process.
Many agency owners have questions and Gary O’Riordan as GM of the accreditation scheme will be running a national roadshow in August to talk to agency owners – AFTA members or not – about the new scheme, the criteria and the commercial solutions being developed. Everyone will be able to have their say.

We will also hold a webinar for those unable to attend the workshops and of course the AFTA website will be an invaluable resource to get the knowledge and have your say as Gary presents the draft scheme to the industry.

It is so exciting to be able to speak in a positive context with real outcomes and real on the ground detail. I am sure many in the industry feel the same way when we all now know the full extent of the plans going forward.

• I must pay tribute to all the winners at the NTIA 2013. It was a very very big event and from all the reports a big success.

A big thank you to everyone in the industry for their continued support of the event and of course the wonderful sponsors who recognise the importance of holding the signature event for the travel industry in Australia.

Jay Westbury’s AFTA View column appears monthly.