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Wed 2 Jan 2008 12:46 PM

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DTTAG calls on travel agents to show their support

The Dubai Travel and Tour Agents Group (DTTAG) has called on non-member agents to sign up and help the association become a force to be reckoned with.

The Dubai Travel and Tour Agents Group (DTTAG) has called on non-member agents to sign up and help the association become a force to be reckoned with.

Speaking at DTTAG Annual General Body meeting at the Emirates' Aviation College last month, group president Iain Andrew, also the senior vice president of Dnata Travel Services, told the audience that more members were required in order for the association to be taken seriously and to bolster its bargaining power.

"We are currently a group of 54 members, but that's not enough. We need to work together to ensure we protect ourselves in this competitive market," he said.

"The travel market is a tough one - with pressures from the internet and suppliers going to customers direct - we need to work collectively."

He noted that if even if 150 of the 260-plus Dubai travel agents came on board, it would be enough to negotiate deals with a wide range of travel suppliers, from airlines and hotels, to travel insurance companies.

"This will create a win-win situation," he added.

Andrew also bemoaned that fact that just 25 of the 54 DTTAG members had signed the declaration that agreed to recommendations as to the fees agents should charge their customers. These include holiday, refund and reissue charges.

"By charging these fees the average travel agency can earn AED 60,000 (US $17,000) per year, which is not a conservative figure - so I wonder why agents have not signed up," he said.

The session sparked lively debate amongst agents who called for DTTAG to work more closely with IATA to reduce bank guarantee fees and with airlines to secure remuneration benefits.

Andrew also revealed full details of DTTAG's accounts, which are now back in the black with funds already been put to good use to subsidise travel agent training in recent months.

DTTAG manager Leo Fewtrell unveiled DTTAG's new logo and announced that all DTTAG members would now be given window stickers and a certificate to prove that they were a signed-up group member.

The session also played host to several key speakers from IATA as well as DTTAG sponsors, AIG and EmQuest.

IATA spoke about BSP, bank guarantees, e-ticketing and agent support services, while AIG stressed money-making opportunities selling travel insurance afforded and EmQuest unveiled a new training scheme for travel agency newcomers.

For a full and detailed report on the DTTAG Annual General Body Meeting and the issues discussed, see the February issue of ATN.

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