THE Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has attracted several new members this year, with the “inherent robustness” of the Australian Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS) believed to be a major drawcard.
CEO Dean Long voiced his delight at ATAS’s growing reputation across the sector, which he attributed to last year’s independent review of the scheme. “ATAS is a nationally recognised and respected symbol of professional excellence in travel,” Long commented.
“As the industry peak body, the role of AFTA is to continually elevate standards in travel, so ATAS is not, and never will be, a pay-to-play rubber stamp,” he added, highlighting that all ATAS members must meet strict criteria in an intensive process, including audits of submitted financials, monitoring of consumer complaints and a formal dispute resolution process.
Long pointed out that ATAS members recognise “the value of legitimate third party endorsement…it provides a proven platform for public recognition of professional and ethical conduct, serving to strengthen the reputation of accredited businesses”.
He also noted the importance of the industry having a united voice with government at all levels, with ATAS allowing individuals to participate in collective discussions.
Sri Lankan specialist tour operator Tropical Lanka Getaways, luxury destination management agency Destination Artisans and Qld agency Clout Travel are among the AFTA newbies, who identified several reasons for joining, including ATAS’ strong reputation, ongoing education via AFTA and the credibility that being part of ATAS brings to their business.