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ASATA responds to recent travel fraud cases

Otto de Vries
ASATA CEO Otto de Vries

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.

CAPE TOWN – 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.”

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.

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website | + Posts

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.