Agents need to create value: FATA (SPECIAL REPORT: ATF 2008)

BANGKOK – The Federation of ASEAN Travel Agents (FATA) had their annual general meeting yesterday to address trade concerns. A very pertinent issue raised is how agents need to provide value-added services so that service fees can be charged. ASEAN travel agents already charge service fees but it is time that customers are reminded that travel agents provide a valuable service that cannot be found elsewhere, said William Tan, president of the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS). Tan estimated that about 10 percent of travellers use the Internet for their travel bookings. “As more people travel, the new travellers will come to the travel agents for guidance so this ratio of 10 percent can hopefully be maintained,” he said. Corporate travellers also make use of travel agents, which is seen in Singapore with travel agents catering more to corporate demands. Their needs range from airport transfers to visa applications. “We need to create value for the customers even as hotels and airlines go direct to them,” Tan explained.

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