ASATA Column: Looking Back on 2013


It’s been a highly productive year for ASATA – the organisation has achieved a lot in the last 12 months.

When I was appointed CEO nearly a year ago, I was tasked with implementing ASATA’s new strategy – Compliance, Consensus and Confidence. My plan for the strategy’s first year was to secure, from ASATA members and the industry at large, confidence in the value and benefits of the organisation. With less than two months to go before the end of the financial year, the majority of the tasks necessary to ensure that this goal was achieved were either completed or put into action.

The committee began drafting the industry codes for the Consumer Protection Act, which will align our code of conduct and terms of reference with the CPA.

We delivered a framework for offering incentives to travel agents and their staff, and submitted an exemption request to the Financial Services Board with regards to travel agents selling travel insurance products.

In January of this year we delivered a draft proposal to members for the new IATA accreditation criteria, as prepared by the Agency Programme Joint Council. We are also looking forward to the first exclusive ASATA insurance offering, as part of our risk management obligations.

We have assisted with over 200 disputes – IATA-related issues, consumer complaints and numerous general enquiries. We held, participated in, and attended well over 200 meetings, forums and conferences, where the activities of the association were re-enforced. We continue to prepare for our application to the South African Qualifications Authority to be recognised as a professional body. We re-launched the ASATA Diners Club Awards and will shortly be making an exciting announcement regarding the young travel professionals in our industry.

We took a lead in the discussions with IATA regarding the proposed New Distribution Capability, where significant progress was made to ensure our sector is consulted throughout the process.

The organisation will be working full steam ahead this coming year to ensure that members continue to deliver quality service to their customers.

Otto de Vries