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HATTA discusses commissions and e-commerce

Travel agencies must press for a reduction in commission charged by airlines for ticket sales as well as establish themselves on the Internet, if they are to survive…

Travel agencies must press for a reduction in commission charged by airlines for ticket sales as well as establish themselves on the Internet, if they are to survive. This was the view expressed by Michael de Blust, general secretary of the European travel agents' federation (ECTAA<.>), who was in Athens recently and attended the Hellenic Association of Tourist and Travel Agencies' (HATTA<.>) annual general meeting.

In order for airlines to secure the standard 9 percent commission, they force travel agencies to sell tickets for their flights, and not those of other carriers.

The ECTAA has sought the intervention of the EU transport directorate in this matter.

It is also looking at ways that travel agents can avoid depending on carriers as well as do away with charging clients service fees.

Blust said that the rapid rise in the popularity of the Internet could be utilised by travel agencies, particularly those dealing with incoming travel, in their effort to stay afloat.

He noted that agencies should create a unique product, promote it through their own website and sell direct to clients.

Tourism entrepreneurs, Blust said, should realise that competition no longer exists on a local level, but rather on an international level. For that reason, upgrading of services is essential, he said. EU citizens no longer accept mass tourism but specialised, professional service on the part of agencies.

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