The Association of South African Travel Agents, simply known as ASATA, was formed in 1956. Its founders created a representative forum in the industry to promote professional service with security for both Members and their clients. As a Section 21 Company not for profit, membership of ASATA is entirely voluntary and extends to South African Retail Travel Agents, Travel Management Companies and Wholesalers. A Partners section for those suppliers of travel related products to the industry also exists. Currently the Membership represents more than 85% of the industry including the head offices of most of the major brands.
ASATA’s emphasis is on free trade without violating rules and regulations. Accordingly we have entrenched a Constitution and a Code of Conduct that self-regulates the travel industry and provides the consumer with a benchmark and the comfort that the Members are compliant with ASATA’s guidelines. As an indicator of the effect of our governance processes, more than 97% of the complaints we receive from the Consumer relate to non-ASATA members!
ASATA is administered by a full-time Secretariat headed by a Chief Executive Officer, with the day-to-day functions being monitored by a Members Council and its continued role and direction are guided by a Board of Directors. All the Members of the Regional Committee’s, Council and Board are elected by the Members at an Annual General Meeting.
The association interfaces with key opinion leaders in the industry and senior Government officials in representing its Members on all issues of common interest to ASATA Members. This includes policy, planning, operational and regulatory issues ensuring the ongoing sustainability of the travel industry.
Our representation includes affiliation to; The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), Tourism, Hospitality & Sport Education & Training Authority (THETA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), The Airline Association of Southern Africa (AASA), The Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (BARSA), World Travel Agents Association Alliance (WTAAA), The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), Tourism Empowerment Council of South Africa (TECSA), Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA), South African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (SAVRALA) and South African Tourism (SAT).
The make up of the Membership base is directly related to the outbound travel market. ASATA values tourism into this country and supports the vital growth opportunities it presents for South Africa. More recently ASATA has made every effort to distinguish travel from tourism as our Members tend to focus on fulfilling the South African traveller’s requirements. It is important to make this distinction as the effect of bundling travel and tourism impacts training needs, statistics, service delivery and understanding the economics of this dynamic industry.
The primary focus of ASATA is directed at any issue related to improving the continued sustainability and profitability of its Members and ensuring the delivery of a professional service to the travelling consumer. This is achieved through strong relationships and open dialogue with all stakeholders.
ASATA has a total of 556 Members, and Membership categories are divided into the below business operations:
Retail Travel Agent (including Independent Travel Consultants) 461
Wholesale Member (Tour Operator) 25
Partner (Travel supplier) 70