AFTA View – June 2013

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Jason WestburyDraft accreditation criteria up for discussion by all AFTA members

By Jay Westbury, chief executive Australian Federation
of Travel Agents


2013 is shaping up to be a big year with pending decisions around the TCF.

What was known as I write this AFTA View is that agents will have to pay the TCF participation fees and state license fees for the next 12 months and in fact the TCF invoices have been sent out.

Industry can be confident in the knowledge that this will be the last invoice from the TCF.

The other big question still relates to the requirement to submit a financial return and have your accounts audited for the purpose of the TCF.

I remain very confident that this will not be required, but unfortunately I cannot give an iron clad 100 per cent guarantee about this until such time as the Ministers release the new TCF trust deed. We do expect this to be released this month and perhaps by the time this goes to print travelBulletin will be reporting good news. I understand that not knowing is frustrating for many and a hassle, but you can be very confident that this will all end.

The TCF will cease to be our regulator, along with the state legislation, on July 1, 2014 although it will continue to pay and process claims until early 2015. I am confident that come Christmas 2015 we can all stop talking about the past and put all of our efforts into the future.

Meanwhile, a great deal of effort and energy is being put into preparing the new AFTA Accreditation Scheme under the leadership of Gary O’Riordan.

What has been approved now by the AFTA board are nine draft criteria which will form the basis of the accreditation and the plan is for these criteria to be widely debated and discussed via a national roadshow.

In a nutshell the criteria are based upon a combination of the AFTA code of ethics, requirements under the ACCC voluntary code of conduct and some important commercial criteria which we believe will form a sound framework on which the accreditation scheme can add value to all stakeholders.

The draft criteria include:

1. Definition of a ‘Travel Intermediary’;
2. Code of conduct;
3. Consumer protection;
4. Consumer engagement;
5. Business compliance and governance;
6. Commercial safeguards;
7. Workforce development;
8. Dispute resolution and complaints handling; and
9. Payment of fee.

Over the coming months the real detail which stands under each of these criteria will be road tested via the national roadshow with a view to having broad industry agreement in time for a final approval of the AFTA board in September.

Plenty more information will be coming out soon and I am sure that as we go forward many agency owners will have views on all of this.

Well, I hope they do as this will become a very important part of the future of the travel industry.

Jay Westbury’s AFTA View column appears monthly.