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Further to being vocal at industry forums and on trade media about concerns over various aspects of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) proposed new Accreditation Scheme (ATAS), TravelManagers has also been communicating with Government departments throughout the country seeking a more robust ATAS.

Karryon_Needtoknow_postTravelManagers’ Chairman Barry Mayo holds strong to the opinion that AFTA has failed to provide answers and address issues TravelManagers and others have raised on numerous occasions.

Mr Mayo said he there “felt we had little option but to share our concerns with Ministerial advisors and Government departments, with the particular concern that consumer protection through ATAS accreditation should deliver the consumer some guarantee of protection against intermediary insolvency.”

In just over one week, ATAS becomes operational. Mr Mayo and Chief Financial Officer Grant Campbell met with the New South Wales Minister for Fair Trading, the Hon Matthew Mason-Cox MLC, in his capacity as Chair of the Legislative and Governance Forum on Consumer Affairs, to voice their concerns of the scheme.

TravelManagers key objective in meeting with Hon Mason-Cox was to request a six-month extension of the current Travel Compensation Fund (TCF) to 31 December 2014 due to the absence of consumer communication around the new legislative changes and their impact on consumers and lateness of proving information about TAIFI.

“TravelManagers suggest that the TCF and ATAS run side by side for a period of time, allowing the travel industry to have time to obtain more certainly and clarity around the scheme and have an appropriate review of TAIFI and explore alternative insurance products,” Mr Mayo said.

Furthermore, Mr Mayo believes it will also give security for consumers who may be impacted by the failure of a travel agent that does not properly account for their customer’s monies during this transition period.

On 30 June 2014, the TCF ceases to provide consumer protection and State Governments will take possession of the balance of the industry funded $27 million of TCF reserves when TCF is finally wound up on 30 June 2015.

Travel agents have funded the TCF for over 27 years and its specific purpose is to protect the consumer against loss and disruption as a result of a travel intermediary not properly accounting for their customers’ monies.

Are you onboard with ATAS or do you agree with TravelManagers and have concerns about the new scheme?