ASATA Column: Work in Progress

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In line with our strategy of ‘Compliance, Consensus and Confidence’, one of ASATA’s key objectives for this year is to support and encourage an outcome regarding IATA accreditation criteria for travel agents participating in the southern African Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP).

The APJC makes, inter-alia, recommendations to the Passenger Agency Conference regarding accreditation criteria in respect of financial standing. IATA recognises ASATA as the local agency association, and as such, ASATA co-ordinates the nominations of agency representatives selected to participate on the APJC. Composition of the APJC includes equal representation of agents and airlines, as well as IATA, which fulfils the role of secretariat. 

The first meeting of the newly-appointed members of the APJC convened on 26 April, the first time the APJC has met since November 2011. The new council elected from its membership, Lidia Folli, chief financial officer at Tourvest Travel Services, to serve as chairperson. In addition, the agency representation is made up of: Albert Visser – eTravel; Colin Mitchley – BidTravel; Janet Aldworth – Sure Voyager Travel; and Tiekie Van den Heever – XL The Travel Professionals, Namibia

ASATA, attending the APJC as observers, was represented by myself and industry affairs specialist Karen Strydom.

The council, when it deems appropriate, creates a financial advisory group to review and make recommendations to it on the criteria for financial standing. However, going forward, it has been decided that there will no longer be the need to have a financial working group to support the APJC, as the current representation was deemed qualified and mandated to deliver the necessary outcomes. Lidia will lead the team, with the aim of finalising the local financial criteria specific to the southern Africa BSP, taking into consideration the implications it will impose on travel companies. In addition, the APJC is tasked with delivering a default insurance product aimed at travel agencies, that serves as an alternative to lodging a bank guarantee with IATA. This process involves determining which product is best suited to meet the needs of the agents and is acceptable to IATA.

Otto de Vries

CEO: ASATA