By V Sanjeev Kumar
IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI) has suggested that accredited travel agents go for GoLite accreditation against the IATA Standard Accreditation as the former significantly reduces overall costs and helps agents survive during these crisis times arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Biji Eapen, national president of IAAI, pointed out that the financial security renewals of IATA-accredited agents are scheduled for June 30, and the private insurance company has withdrawn their insurance guarantee for travel agents. In the absence of an insurance guarantee, agents are forced to provide bank guarantees or joint bank guarantees under travel associations, which are more expensive than the existing insurance guarantee system.
The national committee, he said, has recommended IATA-accredited travel agents to convert their accreditations to ‘GoLite’. Since there is no capping, agents can tie up with airlines and pay advance deposit through IATA ‘EasyPay valet’. The other benefits of GoLite accreditation is that agents are free from providing financial security, financial statements and annual financial review to IATA, he said.
However, IATA Standard Accreditation, he claimed, is expensive, especially in the current pandemic situation, forcing a travel agent to spend around $783 annually in addition to the financial guarantee and other expenses.
IATA accreditation is a symbol or trademark of the standing of a travel agency within the industry, and is recognised worldwide, despite volumes or revenues, Eapen said.
Eapen said that since the existing Covid-19 situation looks likely to continue, delaying the resurgence of international flights, this high expenditure is not a viable business option for most agents. When the Covid-19 pandemic and economic turmoil draw to a close, agents can change their accreditation according to the requirements of their business models.
He went on to add that the existence of IATA travel agents will be in peril as the DGCA regulatory order on March 5, 2010 to make mandatory remuneration or commission on tickets to travel agents is not yet implemented or enforced in the country. ( Business Line )