CATO View – September 2013

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Peter BaileyInsolvency insurance a key focus as
new accreditation scheme looms

Peter Baily, general manager,
Council of Australian Tour Operators

 

THE Council of Australian Tour Operators recently held a meeting at the Aria Restaurant in Brisbane. AFTA general manager accreditation Gary O’Riordan was the keynote speaker outlining the new travel accreditation scheme that comes into effect on July 1, 2014.

CATO supports and is committed to working closely with AFTA to ensure the new scheme is workable and well received by the industry.

Members had an excellent opportunity to ask Gary specific questions relating to how the new scheme will affect wholesalers.

Of particular interest was the update on the progress of the two forms of insurance which will be available to ATAS members – Supplier Insolvency and Travel Intermediary Insolvency insurances.
With the wind-up of the TCF, an attractive and affordable ATAS insurance cover is considered to be of prime importance to the effectiveness of the new accreditation scheme.

Under any new accreditation scheme, understanding and following the guidelines set by Australian Consumer Law will become ever more important.

To this end CATO has been assisting the Fair Trading Department with the release of an Industry guide to the Australian Consumer Law on travel and accommodation. This new guide, developed by national, state and territory consumer protection agencies, aims to help travel and accommodation businesses clarify their rights and obligations and covers key aspects of the law such as contract terms, deposits and refunds.

The guide focuses on issues where industry bodies have asked for more detailed information for business. CATO members have all received copies.

• At the recent National Travel Industry Association awards night CATO member Trafalgar Tours was named the Best Tour Operator – International and another member, Dubai Tourism received the Best Tourism Office award.

Special mention and congratulations also goes to the winner of the new NTIA category – Best Niche Wholesaler – which was taken out by The Africa Safari Co. This new award has been introduced to recognise smaller wholesalers with a turnover of $10m or less.

The recognition shown by the travel industry to CATO members was very pleasing, especially with the imminent transition from the government-run TCF and licensing regulations to the self-regulated ATAS accreditation scheme.

Now more than ever the CATO Advantage of integrity and commitment, embodied in our logo, needs to be endorsed as it is important for agents and the public to be confident and reassured when dealing with accredited, trusted CATO members.

• Now the elections are over CATO looks forward to working closely with the new Federal Government. The plan to include tourism in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade & Tourism is a very positive move for our industry. This will mean tourism will be represented in Cabinet by the Foreign Minister, and hopefully will get the recognition it deserves. We already have a very close working relationship with DFAT through the Smartraveller Consultative Committee and this should mean we will have more direct access to decision making where it affects our industry.

• The next CATO meeting followed by the annual Christmas dinner will be held in Sydney on Wednesday, November 27. This is always a popular event so for further details and bookings please email Gina.

 

Peter Baily’s CATO View column appears quarterly.

 

   

 

 

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