OHANNESBURG: ASATA, the Association of South African Travel Agents and South African Airways (SAA) have reached an agreement to keep Travel Agents Commission at 7%.
The agreement comes after months of deliberation between the airline and the travel industry to find the remuneration model that will best suit all.
“We went to great lengths and invested time and money in a concerted effort to find the best way forward.
“Travel agents provide a considerable income for the airline and we will continue our efforts to carve out ways of keeping our relationship with travel agents one of mutual benefit.
“Any future decisions will rely on recommendations of external and internal experts coupled with consultations with the industry,” says André Viljoen, SAA President and CEO.
The airline and Asata, the Association of South African Travel Agents, have contained this decision in a memorandum of understanding, which will be reviewed by 31 March 2005.
The criteria used to determine which remuneration model for travel agents would be to the benefit of both the airline and agencies were:
á the model needed the ability to reduce SAA`s distribution costs
á it should be able to maintain the financial viability of travel agents
á the model should have benefits for the passengers
á the model should be simple to implement
á the model should reflect the value added by the travel agent
The evaluation of the commissioned research has indicated that, at this time, no change to the remuneration structure should be made.
“This is a complicated process and SAA and ASATA would prefer to further investigate best practice models ” said Viljoen .
“My advice to the trade is that we do not want agents to sit back and do nothing. Seize this opportunity to consider the results of the extensive research and apply this to your business. Lets think about the best way forward for a sustainable solution for all ,” said President of ASATA, Marco Ciocchetti.
Vanya Lessing, CEO of ASATA, said SAA and ASATA have proved that it is possible to negotiate through a managed process, in partnership, and arrive at the right decision for the industry.
“Most importantly, the process was supported with representation from the largest to the smallest player in the industry. All negotiations were conducted professionally and with mutual respect. ”
“Well done to the SAA and ASATA teams who spent many hours researching and negotiating, moving the process forward to this point,” said Lessing.