The Australian Tourism industry Accreditation Scheme starts today, following five years of consultation over its design.
Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) chief executive officer Jason Westbury said that ATAS will provide much benefit to tourist agents and consumers.
“Our industry can now operate within a flexible, equitable framework which accommodates the significant diversity of the Australian travel industry, applies the rigor of Australian Consumer Law, accommodates the evolution of the way consumers buy travel, and which more fairly spreads responsibility across the entire industry rather than just travel agents,” Mr Westbury said.
Under the scheme, ATAS accredited travel agencies will also now have to possess mandatory professional indemnity and public liability insurance.
Mr Westbury said that consumers can now be confident that because ATAS accredited agents have to have this insurance, they will be able to rely on the advice of agents, as they do a lawyer or doctor and that industry’s reputability should not be distinguished by the notion of insolvency by a ‘bailout scheme’.