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TD breaking news – AFTA releases ATAS first year review

Board adopts nine of 11 recommendations, scheme “well on track”. 

AFTA has formally published the outcomes of a review of the AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme, undertaken by Chris Greiner of Ryan Lawyers, in accordance with the ATAS charter.

Public submissions were sought last year, and Greiner has provided a detailed report based on the feedback received from the industry including a series of recommendations which were considered by the AFTA Board.

A response from the Board to the review confirms that nine of the 11 recommendations made will be adopted, with ceo Jayson Westbury saying AFTA was “very pleased with the level of interest that the review received and greatly appreciate the thoughtful and comprehensive report”.

Changes adopted include amendments to the Charter relating to authorised persons for foreign entities, a broadening of the definition of ‘close associate’ for ATAS participants, consideration of a timetable to increase the proportion of consumer-facing staff required to hold travel qualifications, changes to dispute notification processes, and changed wording to the Charter and Code to make them more user-friendly.

However AFTA declined to adopt a recommendation that the Board consider the implementation of an “aspirational timetable” for the introduction of a requirement that all participants maintain client trust accounts. The Board said it does not believe this provides “any material benefit to the ongoing operation of the scheme while it is in a voluntary state,” saying it was committed to continuing to work with the broader insurance to establish more commercial solutions.

The review process included an administrative legal review of the ATAS Charter and Code of Conduct, with a range of practical recommendations which will also be adopted within revised governance documents.

“What is clear from the review is that ATAS is performing well for the travel agents across Australia and for consumers who choose to book with an ATAS accredited travel agent,” Westbury said.

“With these modifications, ATAS is well positioned for the future and will continue to play a critical role in helping consumers identify professional, credible and trusted travel professionals in a de-regulated environment,” he added.

To view the full review report from Chris Greiner CLICK HERE.

To view the AFTA Board response CLICK HERE.

More details in today’s issue of Travel Daily.


The above Breaking News Alert was sent to Travel Daily subscribers on 15 Jan 16

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