CATO backs future travel credits over refunds

Council engages ACCC over policy development for COVID-19-related cancellations

The Council of Australia Tour Operators (CATO) has engaged the competition regulator to assist with the development of a travel and tourism-friendly cancellation policy stemming from the COVID-19 overseas travel ban.

CATO says that with ongoing uncertainty surrounding the immediate future of international travel and tourism, it is essential that the role played by Australian-based tour operators and wholesalers support the longevity of the outbound travel sector.

“The ACCC is dealing with thousands of consumer enquiries around refunds for international travel. CATO is eager to ensure a viable, common sense approach that can be supported by the ACCC in dealing with future travel credits or consideration of refunds in extenuating circumstances,” said CATO Managing Director, Brett Jardine.

It is CATO’s stance that future travel credits are in the best interest of consumers instead of cash refunds. Travel credits offer maximum returns and help preserve cash flows through each part of the supply chain, the organisation said.

Brett Jardine, Managing Director, Council of Australian Tour Operators
Brett Jardine, Managing Director, Council of Australian Tour Operators

A formal submission has been presented to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which, in part, highlights the “intricacies of the global travel ecosystem and the overwhelming support being shown by the majority of participants at every level,” said Jardine.

“Open communication with the ACCC on behalf of our members is critical at this time. We will ensure that the ACCC is very clear on the role of Australian-based tour operators and wholesalers so they continue with appropriate policy around future travel credits and refunds that supports the longevity of the outbound travel sector,” Jardine added.

CATO members include Abercrombie & Kent, Crooked Compass, Luxury Gold and Uniworld. See cato.travel/

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