AFTA View

Travel Bulletin - - CONTENTS - Jayson West­bury, chief ex­ec­u­tive AFTA

The tragic jet ski ac­ci­dent at Kata Beach Phuket Thai­land last month which took the life of Emily Col­lie has at­tracted an im­mense amount of con­sumer me­dia en­quiry. At is­sue has been the ques­tion of how these things oc­cur and what hap­pens when travel in­sur­ance is not taken out. For the record, I do not know what the sit­u­a­tion was in re­la­tion to Ms Col­lie, and I hope travel in­sur­ance was in place. Sto­ries have been build­ing for some time about the role of gov­ern­ment in ed­u­cat­ing con­sumers about the risks over­seas and the need for travel in­sur­ance. The prob­lem clearly is that when peo­ple go on holiday they seem to take risks that they would not take at home. Or if that risk was taken, the Aus­tralian heavy hand of reg­u­la­tion would more than likely place a level of per­sonal pro­tec­tion that rarely ex­ists, par­tic­u­larly in South East Asia. As such, the idea of rid­ing a mo­tor­bike with­out a hel­met or get­ting on a high-pow­ered jet ski be­comes some­thing peo­ple do with­out a sec­ond thought. As we know when things like this go wrong they can be fa­tal. Per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity is key in ad­dress­ing this. In fact, in re­cent in­ter­views on this sub­ject I used the line: “Peo­ple pack all sorts of things when they go on holiday, but most im­por­tantly they should pack their brain”. While a lit­tle harsh, the mes­sage is that peo­ple need to think about what they do on holiday and not blame some­one else for their own ac­tions. As an ac­tive par­tic­i­pant on the Smar­trav­eller Con­sul­ta­tive group which talks about this reg­u­larly, I’m not sure it’s a gov­ern­ment re­spon­si­bil­ity to ed­u­cate con­sumers. I also don’t be­lieve it’s a travel agent re­spon­si­bil­ity, though I am sure agents talk to clients about some of the risks. At the end of the day, the trav­eller is in ul­ti­mate con­trol of what risks they take. But when it comes to travel in­sur­ance the mes­sage does ap­pear to be get­ting there. A re­cent sur­vey by the In­sur­ance Coun­cil of Aus­tralia found only 8% of de­part­ing Aus­tralian adults did not take out travel in­sur­ance. That means 92% of peo­ple are tak­ing out in­sur­ance. I re­call only five years ago, that num­ber was more like 72% so the mes­sage is work­ing. The fact re­mains how­ever that not all trav­ellers have the right in­sur­ance. I am hope­ful that in 2017 we will be able to do more work in this area to en­sure that the right travel in­sur­ance is pur­chased. I know that travel agents are best placed to do this, but sadly peo­ple will go with the cheap­est op­tion, sourced on­line, or think that their credit card in­sur­ance will do the trick. Much more work needs to be done in this area and AFTA will be talk­ing to the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment and the In­sur­ance Coun­cil about how this might be best ad­dressed. My deep­est sym­pa­thies go to the Col­lie fam­ily at this time. A re­ally sad story in­deed.

As we know when things like this go wrong they fa­tal’ can be

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