01.Travel compensation fund out
A major shake-up of the travel industry will take effect from 1 July 2015, with major implications for consumers.
The new financial year will see the Travel Compensation Fund begin to wind down, although it will offer limited services until 2015. The fund was used to provide compensation to consumers when travel agents went bust. It also ran a licensing scheme to keep dodgy operators out of the market.
Voluntary accreditation scheme in
As the fund winds up, a voluntary accreditation scheme run by the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) will be brought in. The Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS) has been established with left-over money from the fund.
ATAS-accredited travel agents will be required to follow a code of conduct aimed at providing quality assurance for consumers. The scheme will also include a complaint mechanism and minimum standards on staff training.
But taking out insurance policies to protect consumers in the event that the travel agent goes bust - the main function of the old compensation fund - is only optional.
For more information on the changes, see our FAQs