The SAQA professional Designation – what you need to know

By now, you’ve probably heard that travel agents in South Africa will soon be able to apply for the official designation of Travel Practitioner (TPrac) following the accreditation of ASATA by the South African Qualifications Authority.

But, what does this mean exactly for travel agents? How and when can you apply? How much does it cost?

We’ve tried to answer your most pressing questions with regards to the SAQA designation here.


ASATA and its role as a professional body – what does this mean?

  • SAQA has recognised ASATA as a professional body. This means that ASATA can award (currently) the professional designation of Travel Practitioner. ASATA is not an accredited Training Provider.
  • SAQA has registered the initial designation of Travel Practitioner.
  • ASATA has revived the ASATA Professional Programme which is the process through which a travel consultant (agent) can seek to achieve the designation of Travel Practitioner.

What is APP?

It is an online platform that allows travel consultants to create a profile and update their skills, experience, qualifications and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points to achieve a designation.

When can agents start applying for the TPrac designation

ASATA is currently testing APP with trade stakeholders who have volunteered to give feedback on the new system to refine it. Once this process has been concluded, we will launch the site to members and non-members seeking to participate and attain a designation. It is a web-based system, so there will be a URL that users can visit to register their profile. A neutral designation and appeal committee will be appointed, travel consultants will be able to start applying for their designation.

After TPrac, what’s the next designation that will be rolled out and when will agents be able to start applying?

ASATA has further listed their request for future submission to SAQA for the designations of Travel Professional (considered if you have a general certificate in travel or other travel qualification from an accredited training provider) and Certified Travel Professional, which would require the candidate to take exams. We envisage these designations to be registered in 2019/2020 subject to approval and SAQA process being followed.

Is there any cost to be recognised?

A participation fee pertains to all registrations and designations on the APP system. Registration costs for ASATA members are R175 pp annually, while non-ASATA members pay R295 pp annually, VAT inclusive. Registration fees will be valid until the end of 2018

To receive your designation, ASATA members pay an additional R340 pp, while non-ASATA members non-ASATA members pay R590 pp, VAT inclusive.

Why do we have to pay?

The development of the APP system, administration of the process by ASATA and the fact that participants must have paid-up fees to maintain designation, according to SAQA.

  • If one has to go through the RPL process there will be costs.

Will agents need to repeat or go through the process each year?

Designation requires Travel Practitioners to accumulate 60 CPD points over a 3-year period, so the Travel Practitioner will have to upskill themselves to ensure that these points are retained. There is a review after 5 years.

How does the actual vetting process work? Will someone at ASATA manually go through each application?

Once the applicant has updated their APP profile, this is then submitted to their line manager or supervisor to check. Once this is checked, the application is sent to ASATA and a neutral soon-to-be appointed designation and appeals committee will adjudicate each application.

I have been in travel for 15 years? Will this be considered for designation purposes? 

Yes, we will take this into consideration and apply what is called the ‘Grandfather clause’.

If you have a higher qualification e.g. Diploma in Travel Tourism/ MBA and relevant qualification with travel as an element, we can take this into account

Is it mandatory to apply for a designation? 

Currently it is voluntary to apply for a designation.