NATAS to offer professional accreditation scheme

THE NATIONAL Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS) is planning to roll out an accreditation programme for Singapore agency professionals by next year.

Unlike the existing CaseTrust-NATAS Joint Accreditation Scheme which evaluates companies and is more consumer-focused, this would be a professional accreditation that is largely personal, said NATAS CEO Robert Khoo.

“This will assess one’s personal ability to be a travel agent such as how to sell (travel) and handle customers. Those who have gone through training modules and passed a test will be able to hold a title such as a NATAS-certified consultant,” he added.

Khoo explained that this would also be different from the Customer Centric Initiative launched last November for the travel services sector, which has a focus on service excellence.

While most agents TTG Asia e-Daily spoke to felt that the new initiative was another opportunity to differentiate themselves, there were some reservations.

“If it’s not government-driven, it may die a natural death. I don’t think I’ll send any people for this unless it’s compulsory,” said Nam Ho Travel director Marshall Ooi.

Khoo aims to get at least 20 per cent of his members’ workforce certified, but admitted this would be challenging.

“As it is, only a handful of our agents are CaseTrust-accredited and some don’t even want to renew their CaseTrust. We will have to make sure this new accreditation gets enough publicity.”

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