Barry Mayo opens up about reopening borders and confusing silver lining of travel restrictions – Travel Weekly
Ever-changing global travel restrictions may be a silver lining for travel agents as Australia’s international borders begin to reopen, according to industry veteran Barry Mayo.
It’s no secret that the travel industry has come under public criticism over the past year, thanks to massive cancellations and tough refunds.
But, as we slowly approach the light at the end of the tunnel, travel agents may find a pleasant surprise awaiting them.
Mayo, who is president of TravelManagers and CT Partners, said the pandemic has resulted in very different experiences between travelers who book directly or with an OTA and those who have a travel agent acting on their behalf.
While online bookings can save short-term travelers a few dollars, when it comes to more difficult booking – especially in the post-containment world – Mayo argued that it was much more cost effective. and quick to have a professional on your side.
“A learning experience for many travelers… has been the benefit of booking with a live person who is dedicated to their well-being and protects them against all eventualities,” he said. Weekly trip.
“Whether during the trip, before or after the trip, the benefit of dealing with an experienced and knowledgeable travel counselor who knows and understands their client, as opposed to an anonymous investigator at the end of a phone call or an email from a call center, has never been so pronounced.
The government of New South Wales announced on Friday that it remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated international travelers from November 1, not only by bringing forward the planned date for the reopening of the border, but also by making travel abroad more feasible for inbound and outbound travelers.
As a result, Qantas has postponed its resumption of international flights from November 14 to November 1 in the state.
The rest of Australia is set to reopen to international travel as each state meets the target of 80% of the population vaccinated; however, some quarantine restrictions are expected to remain.
“It is highly likely that there will be a period of time after the international border reopens where changes and updates are underway, as the world opens up and deals with the pandemic at different stages of recovery in the world. various countries, ”Mayo said.
“This is again an area where experienced professional travel counselors will add value by providing this knowledge reliably. “
While traveling as the world learns to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic is the most crucial time to have a travel professional by our side, consumer advocate Adam Glezer said last month. Weekly trip that consumers have “Very little trust and confidence” in the travel industry at this time.
Glezer calls for greater consumer protection in the travel space, including the introduction of mandatory trust fund accounts for agents.
According to Mayo, TravelManagers has always operated with a customer trust account, but stricter regulations in the industry could have negative consequences for the Australian travel industry.
“The regulator needs a deep experience and understanding of the industry it seeks to regulate, and while regulation is usually introduced with good intentions, it can also have unintended consequences.” , did he declare.
“[For example], if the industry is over-regulated, imposing hefty compliance costs on Australian businesses, this could in fact drive overseas business directly to suppliers and travel intermediaries who are not bound by Australian law. the consumption. “
Instead, Mayo encourages agents to undertake their own analysis of what they have learned over the past 18 months and introduce measures to maintain or restore consumer confidence.
“If this analysis indicates that in order to thrive in the post-COVID environment, they need to provide greater security around customer funds, then they have the option of setting up a customer trust account or some other form of financial security. or commercial practice, ”he said.
“Ultimately, the consumer will decide whether this is imperative by directing their business to travel intermediaries who provide the customer with a trust account and other guarantees.”
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