AFTA View – October 2013

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Jason WestburyTravel agents, stand by for AFTA to
bring the new ATAS brand to life

By Jay Westbury, chief executive Australian Federation
of Travel Agents


THE travel industry has a busy few months ahead and not just because people are looking to do more travel with bookings strong heading into the Christmas period, to judge by the reports coming into me.

There is also a sway of conferences being held between now and the end of year along with the ATAS transitional workshops which are being rolled out over the next couple of months. So if the travel industry thought these last few months of 2013 were going to be lazy days by the pool, I think we had all better do a re think.

I am very fortunate to be attending the majority of the various group confer-ences that are taking place over the next couple of months and it is always great to catch up with so many people in attendance from across the travel industry.

AFTA will also be rolling out the accreditation scheme transition work-shops for the new ATAS accreditation scheme which will enable travel agency owners and managers to gain a very detailed level of information about the new scheme and how to think about the transition to the new accreditation model from the TCF and the state travel agent licensing schemes previously in place.

The transition workshops will provide invaluable detailed information about the changes being implemented and how to best embrace the new accreditation model. The curriculum and content has been design for AFTA by the team at KPMG and much of the workshop will be presented by the KPMG consultants who have helped develop the workshops.

It is getting ever closer to the reality of accreditation becoming the way the industry presents itself into the future. That is why for every agency owner it is an important time to get as much detail and understanding of the changes to ensure that your business is ready for the new arrangements next year.

I hope that as many agency owners and managers as possible participate in the workshops. They are free of charge apart from giving up your own time and the ATAS team has prepared a national schedule for every capital city and no doubt a webinar will be arranged.

We will also bring to life during the month of October the new brand for ATAS. This will be something that will become an important symbol for the travel industry as it will identify those that have chosen to take out accreditation.

The new brand has been well researched and developed and its goal is to sit as a supporting brand with each travel agency brand to enable the travel agent to be identified as accredited.

ATAS is all about elevating travel standards and I hope once you get a chance to see what ATAS actually looks like you will agree that the brand does do this. More detail about the ATAS marketing and communications plans will be released in the New Year in readiness for the launch and to start the conversation with consumers about why they should be using an accredited travel agent.

So the next few months have a lot of positive things occurring for everyone in the industry, and I hope that I will get to see many of you who read travelBulletin before Christmas.

Jay Westbury’s AFTA View column appears monthly.