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Fri 1 Jun 2007 12:00 AM

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Tourism Australia considers charging agents for fam trips

Travel agents could soon be paying for familiarisation trips if Tourism Australia (TA) has its way.

Travel agents could soon be paying for familiarisation trips if Tourism Australia (TA) has its way.

The country's tourism agency has already started charging agents in India and some Asian countries around AU $75 ($62) to attend fam trips Down Under and is considering implementing the strategy in the Middle East.

It is hoped that by charging agents a nominal fee they will be committed to taking part in the trip and refrain from dropping out at the last minute.

"What we are saying is that if you are going to quibble over seventy five dollars, you are not committed to selling Australia," explained TA's partnership and distribution manager for South East Asia and Gulf Countries, Stephen Cheah.

"Once agents pay, we know they will attend."

He said TA was considering charging travel partners to attend the annual Yinala event, which is staged specifically for GCC-based travel agents, particularly as just days and even hours before the February 2007 event in Melbourne, several agents dropped out, some without even having the courtesy to inform TA and the airlines.

"What we might do is charge them a deposit, which is refundable if they attend," explained Cheah.

"It's so frustrating when people don't turn up; it's not only a waste of time and money, but it means someone else could have gone in their place. Fees are the best way forward."

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