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New association replaces AFTA

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SYDNEY, 17 August 2023: The Australian travel industry has a new peak industry body representing travel agents and advisors, tour operators, consolidators and wholesalers, replacing the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) that was established in 1957.

The biggest reform ever for Australia’s travel sector was unveiled as the Australian Travel Industry Association (ATIA) was officially launched earlier this week.

ATIA has been created to accurately reflect the existing membership of travel agents, corporate agents, tour operators, wholesalers and ITOs.

ATIA has been developed after two years of extensive review of members of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) and a significant review and public consultation of the peak body’s constitution and operations.

Reforms announced so far include a new fairer and more balanced voting structure and new objectives for the association, which reaffirm commitment to all participants and principles of the Australian Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS).

An independent ATAS Advisory Committee will be established to represent the full ATIA membership base to provide independent governance.

Members are at the heart of ATIA, and as part of the two-year review process, three specific membership segments expressed their wish to have dedicated engagement platforms to network and provide advice on advocacy activities.

In response, ATIA will establish an initial three caucuses to create formal consultation processes in addition to existing channels. The caucus structure has been chosen as a platform because it does not have a formal hierarchy. It will allow the members of each caucus to collaborate, network, and define advocacy objectives within their specific areas.

The three caucuses are:
Independent Travel Agents,
Independent Contractors (Home-based) and
Tour Operators / Wholesalers.

An ATIA Individual Membership option will now be available for AUD10 a month, which will provide access to several ATIA advantages (while not having voting rights which sit with ATAS businesses). This will include access to a new online platform, Travel Exchange, with various resources.

ATIA chair Tom Manwaring commented: “ATIA represents a combined powerhouse of travel agents, tour operators, consolidators and wholesalers.

“In reviewing where we were, it became fundamentally apparent that our name no longer was fit for purpose. Of our 1200 members, including travel agents, corporate agents, and OTAs, we also have 200 tour operators, wholesalers, and ITOs. Of our 1000 travel agency members, only 14 were marketing or promoting their businesses as travel agents or agencies.

“The world of Travel has transformed since AFTA was created in 1957, and to reflect better who we are and what we do, we have created ATIA. One voice, one future.”

“We must ensure that travellers and government recognize the full reality of Australia’s vibrant Travel eco-system and that when you choose an ATAS travel business, you are choosing the highest quality of service and professionalism.”

“It’s not been an easy process to get here. It’s taken two long years and countless honest discussions. We’ve sought and listened to feedback from existing members, potential members, and others in and across the Travel Industry and the business sector more widely.”

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