Independent travel agents who are members of ASATA-affiliated consortia, do not automatically qualify as ASATA members. Rather, these travel agents need to apply to ASATA directly to become members of the association.
According to Otto de Vries, CEO ASATA, there is some confusion surrounding ITCs and ASATA membership, with some under the impression that because they pay ASATA membership fees to their consortia, which are already ASATA members, they (ITCs) qualify automatically for ASATA membership.
“South Africa’s travel sector is not regulated and membership with ASATA is voluntary. As such, any travel agent or agency wanting to become a member of ASATA, even ITCs, need to apply for membership individually and renew annually to ensure they meet the stringent membership criteria. This allows ASATA to be in a position to provide consumers with a guarantee that if they’re using the services of an ASATA member they can ‘Travel with Peace of Mind’,” says de Vries.
ITCs wanting to join ASATA will pay an annual ITC membership fee dependent on the number of consultants employed at the business. Those ITCs who are affiliated to travel groups who are existing members of ASATA and contribute through their head office will not be required to pay an annual membership fee to ASATA.
In order to commence with the membership process, all ITCs are required to complete and submit a full application form to ASATA, and pay a once-off application fee of R1 000. Application for membership will be tabled for consideration to the ASATA Board. Once a decision has been reached, communication of the outcome and way forward is communicated to the ITC within a week thereafter.
Benefits to ASATA membership
ASATA-affiliated ITCs can display the ASATA logo on all their marketing collateral, and have access to several member-only initiatives. including the ASATA Awards (in which there is an ITC category) and access to ASATA Classifieds.
Furthermore, one of ASATA’s key responsibilities is to lobby for the benefit of the travel industry. “In the absence of a government-regulated industry, ASATA is the de facto voluntary regulatory body for the travel industry and represents 95% of it. As such, it is recognised by government and other stakeholders like IATA as the travel industry’s representative body in South Africa,” explains de Vries.
How to apply?
ITCS can click on this link and follow the application process online. You would also need the following documents to complete your registration:
• Completed application form
• Latest Financial Statements which must be audited or independently reviewed
• Personal consent forms (downloaded from ASATA website, completed and signed)
• CVs and proof of travel qualifications
• Confirmation from Travel Group head office confirming ITC affiliation to them
• Photos of inside and outside view of the travel business
• Letters of reference from current ASATA Member / Partner in support of your application
• CIPC / Company registration document
• Valid B-BBEE certificate
• Valid tax clearance certificate
• Proof of payment of the R1 000 non-refundable application fee.
Banking details as follows:
FNB – Hydepark
Branch code – 25 06 55
Account number: 5066 003 0145
Only fully completed applications are submitted to the Board for membership consideration.