The International Skal Council has established a committee to formulate post-Covid-19 strategies to protect and guide the travel, tourism and hospitality industry it represents, with special attention paid to improved airline refund processes.
The committee was a result of several meetings since early May, conducted with internal members as well as with other global travel association to identify issues within the industry amid the pandemic.
In a press statement, Skal noted that it was particularly concerned with the lack of transparency around refunds practiced by some airlines, and hoped to protect travel agencies and airline passengers across the globe.
Of Skal’s 14,000 industry membership, 35 per cent is made up of travel agents and tour operators.
Leaders of the Skal International Council pointed out that “the industry is facing serious challenges due to the inconsistent refund procedures enforced by the airlines worldwide. The consumers and agencies who booked their travels with the anticipation of service have been put into misery going through the refund process with airlines and this has been damaging…the industry”.
The Skal International Council has agreed that the committee will focus on ensuring consumer protection while formulating future policies, and will do so by advocating governments and authorities to restructure policies to protect both airlines and airline customers. It will also draw up plans to redesign distribution channels with trained and credible stakeholders.
“This is an historic day for our Skal International Council, to decide to ensure that the traveling public is better protected,” said Peter Morrison, president of Skal International.
“We, our committee within the International Skal Council, will be working on a road map to optimise commercial and service relationship between airlines, IATA, travel agencies and the hospitality industry worldwide to the full satisfaction of customers. (We will) share (that plan) with our global partners and industry in general,” added Constantine Panoussi, International Skal Councillor for Monaco and the leading councillor on the initiative.