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ATAS ‘a brand all agents can be proud of’ – Jayson Westbury


Issues & Trends

ATAS ‘a brand all agents can be proud of’ – Jayson Westbury

ATASAFTA’s Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS) took another step forward this month with the launch of the ATAS brand. The release of the consumer and trade tested brand came in the wake of the first round of transition workshops which have brought more than 650 travel agents around Australia into consultations on shaping the scheme.

Next step will be another round of workshops taking place throughout November. And late next month it is also anticipated that long-awaited information on indemnity policies will be made available by UK-based travel insurance specialists International Passenger Protection (IPP).

It is expected that two senior IPP executives will fly from London to outline proposals.
The brand launch in Sydney included a claim by AFTA that ATAS “will elevate travel standards in Australia”.

Present at the launch were NSW Minister For Fair Trading Anthony Roberts and AFTA board directors and suppliers who have worked on the scheme’s development.

“The event was a celebration of the five year journey to reform and to recognise that the new accreditation scheme is rapidly gaining momentum,” according to the AFTA launch announcement.

“The launch of the brand ATAS – Travel Accredited now gives life to a cornerstone element of the Travel Industry Transition Plan and delivers something that travel agents across Australia can now become very proud of,” said AFTA chief executive, Jayson Westbury.

Gary O’Riordan, general manager –accreditation, believes that the launch of the ATAS brand is evidence that significant progress has been made and that AFTA is well on track to delivering the new accreditation scheme in 2014.

“In early July, AFTA announced it had been granted government funding to establish the scheme,” O’Riordan said at the launch.

“Yesterday we reflected on the sig-nificant progress we have made. This includes the establishment of the participant criteria, development of a governing charter and code of conduct, critical staff recruitment, development and launch of the scheme’s brand.”

“AFTA embarked on an extensive process to develop the brand, which involved both trade and consumer testing.

“The ATAS brand provides the necessary positioning to support travel agents, be they branded or trading with their own name, to ensure that consumers understand the benefit of dealing with an accredited agent.

“ATAS will elevate travel standards so that consumers can deal with ATAS accredited travel agents who are highly experienced, trusted and professional.

O’Riordan and next month’s second round of ATAS transitional workshops “will help travel agents and suppliers navigate changes to the industry and will address the scheme’s final criteria, the application process for participants, new compliance processes and mem-bership categories and fees”.

“For the new scheme to be successful we needed to do our due diligence in both communicating changes to the trade and listening to what the retail travel industry would like to see included in the new scheme,” he said.

“We have taken on board feedback received via the (previous) consultation workshops, fed these back to the supplier consultative committee and various working groups to finesse the details of the scheme … which will elevate travel standards and take the industry to new heights.”

All travel agents (not just AFTA members) and suppliers can register for a transitional workshop at www.atas.com.au/workshop

• Westbury is optimistic that the Western Australian Government will align with the other Australian states and support the national reform of travel agent regulation.
He admits it is “regrettable” that WA has waited so long into the reform process without making a decision but said he was encouraged by corres-pondence with the WA Minister.

 

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