CAPE TOWN, 24 January 2024 – The Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) would like to reassure travellers that fraud cases in the travel industry remain rare, despite recent media coverage.
“I would like to express deep sympathy for those impacted by recent fraud cases in the travel industry. However, I would also like to reassure travellers that there has not been a noticeable increase in travel fraud. We typically see two or three cases every year,” said ASATA CEO Otto de Vries. “Any fraud is unacceptable, but these few incidents are anomalies in an industry worth tens of billions annually.”
The recent reports of travel agency fraud have led to calls for increased government regulation and oversight of the industry. However, ASATA emphasises that rigorous self-regulation is already in effect, as association members must comply with a strict Code of Conduct, a constitution and meet the financial requirements.
Crucially, not one scam or fraud incident over the past decade has involved an ASATA member agency. “With members accounting for approximately 99% of the travel industry market share, this fact demonstrates the effectiveness of self-regulation through our membership requirements, which serve as industry accreditation,” de Vries explained.
To avoid potential fraud, ASATA advises travellers to verify that agencies display the official ASATA logo, request and verify the membership certificate, and look up the agency online on the ASATA website directory before booking. “We are the trustworthy face of this industry and will continue protecting public interests, as we have since 1956,” said de Vries. “While we sympathise with victims, imposing regulations could damage the industry without meaningful additional protections beyond the ASATA stamp and create further barriers to entry.”
Taking these steps and working with an ASATA member helps mitigate the risk of fraudulent behaviour.
Established in 1956, the Association of Southern African Travel Agents is a representative forum registered as an Association of Persons, that promotes professional service in the travel industry for both members and their clients. Representing over 99% of the travel industry in terms of market share, ASATA’s membership is voluntary and includes South African retail travel agents, travel management companies, wholesalers and suppliers of travel-related products and services.
For more information about ASATA, please visit www.asata.co.za.
Issued by Big Ambitions: