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Travel Daily Exclusive - Tuesday 30 October

THE recent list of ATAS membership cancellations has prompted plenty of discussion across the industry, and today I hope to set the record straight amid some of the commentary being made.

ATAS continues to provide extensive advantages to Australian travel agents in a deregulated market providing a clear differentiation between agency types. That is, those who are accredited and willing to have their business put to the scrutiny of the industry Federation, versus those who wish to not stand up to
this testing.

It is very clear and this statement is based upon a recent extensive and expensive consumer research project undertaken by AFTA. Any agent who is making comments about the value and processes undertaken by ATAS should produce their own consumer-based research to back up baseless statements.

The following facts are on the record and public:

  • AFTA conducted consumer research in April this year, delivered by independent global research agency FiftyFive5. 
  • The research confirmed ATAS’ growing awareness amongst consumers and importance in influencing with whom consumers book travel.
  • A new television commercial has been developed by AFTA to reinforce the value of travel agents.

Some of the research findings:

  • More than 60% of travellers say ATAS is relevant to their travel plans.
  • Awareness of ATAS drives use of travel agents – 82% will look for an accredited travel agent next time they book.
  • 3 in 5 travellers will question a business’ credibility if they can’t see the ATAS logo displayed in their selling narrative.

ATAS awareness campaign

The key facts are:

Duration: Sun 28 Oct-24 Nov (first showing) - The commercial will air across Channel 7 (stations include: 7,
7Two, 7 Flix on shows like The Morning Show, Lifestyle, The Daily Show) ; TenPlay (channel Ten targeting females 25-54 across all shows); and YouTube – set to reach 1.4 million consumers targeting females
25-54 and the Google-defined affinity audience of “Travel Buffs”.

ATAS is about future-proofing the Australian travel industry and helping consumers identify reputable, trusted travel agencies through whom they can book with peace of mind. All professional and legitimate
businesses should be part of the “ATAS ecosystem” – working to support, grow and protect our sector ensuring a differentiation between those agents who are ATAS and those who are not.

AFTA will continue to drive the importance of this to ensure the Australian travel agency community has something to be proud of and feel supported by its industry body. Agents often complain about the industry’s reputation.

ATAS is fundamentally how the reputation is maintained - it elevates standards and creates an important message to help drive consumers to Australian travel agents.