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South Australia comes on board as TITP gains momentum


Issues & Trends – April 2013

South Australia comes on board as TITP gains momentum

Gary O'RiordanSOUTH Australia has now joined the other Australian states fully committed to the Travel Industry Transition Plan (TITP) arrangements to be put in place when the Travel Compensation Fund winds up on July 1, 2014.

“I can confirm that AFTA has been informed by the Deputy Premier of SA’s office that they have changed their position and are now fully on board with the changes to be implemented by TITP with no further plans for additional measures specifically for SA,” said AFTA chief executive Jay Westbury.

SA and Western Australia reserved their right to implement additional measures after state and federal Consumer Affairs Ministers decided to replace the TCF-based regulatory regime with one based on Australian Consumer Law and a voluntary accreditation scheme.

Now only WA is out of step with the other states and territories.

At press time, Westbury, who described the SA decision as “great news” was scheduled to meet with WA government officials.

Meanwhile AFTA’s newly appointed general manager-accreditation, Gary O’Riordan, reports rapid progress in the formulation of the accreditation scheme planned under the TITP detail.

Speaking to travelBulletin at the end of his first four weeks in the job, O’Riordan said work is well advanced on developing a draft accreditation scheme in conjunction with KPMG.

It has the working title of AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS), and the AFTA board is expected to sign off on it next month.

By July, he anticipates an announcement of an Australia-wide “roadshow” visiting all capital cities and major regions to consult with travel agents on the draft and associated code of conduct. There are also likely to be webinars for agents in remote regions to make their views known.

These roadshow workshops will be open to all agents. (AFTA also plans its own member survey.)

Behind this, a complex web of working groups and consultative committees have been undertaking a painstaking process of consultations with agents, suppliers, consumer advocates and government officials.

O’Riordan said a key item under discussion is the use of cash accumulated by the TCF – money contributed by Australia’s travel agents – to pay for operation of the accreditation scheme in its first year.

ATAS will also be seeking a sizeable allocation of those TCF funds to finance a consumer awareness campaign.

O’Riordan also confirmed the issue of supplier insolvency insurance continues to be actively pursued. This is seen as an option for protecting both agents’ and clients’ interests in the event of a supplier collapse.

Insurance along the lines of that provided to UK agents by global underwriter, International Passenger Protection (IPP), would have enabled agents to bail out clients hit by collapses such as Air Australia, Kumuka and Classic International Cruises (travelBulletin, December 2012).

Importantly, it would also have covered them against losses from credit card charge backs.

 

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