The Best of the Best Awarded – ASATA Diners Club Awards

ASATA and Diners Club are proud to announce the names of those travel professional who have been singled out for the honour of receiving these prestigious ASATA Diners Club Awards.

The award winners were announced at a glittering ASATA Diners Club Awards ceremony held during the ASATA Conference on the 20th of May, at the stunning Lourensford Wine Estate.

The South African travel industry considers these awards a great accolade and acknowledgement of excellence, with nominations having been received from all over the country.  The expert panel of judges took great care in scoring the entries through an anonymous review process to identify the worthy winners in various sectors of this exciting travel industry.

The ASATA Diners Club Awards recognise those individuals who consistently exceed expectations, display great people skills, have strong travel knowledge, and pay close attention to details, offer support client support, show initiative and set exceptional high standards to the benefit of their clients, the industry and in the interest of true professionals.

The winners in the eight categories are:

Special Awards:

Exceptional Commitment

George Argyropolous – Cruises International

Tomorrow’s Leader

Robyn Daneel-Spicer- Sure Stellenbosch Travel

Retail Sector:

Corporate Consultant in a Travel Agency

Tammy MacFie – Reynolds Travel Centre

Leisure Consultant in a Travel Agency

Evengeline September Club – Travel Algoa Bay

Key Accounts Executive in a Travel Agency

Chantelle du Plooy – HRG Rennies Travel

Independent Travel Consultant (ITC)

Gail Parker – Harvey World Travel

Wholesale Sector

Wholesale Consultant in a Tour Operator

Jenny de Vries – Beachcomber Tours

Wholesale Representative in a Tour Operator

Deanne Allchurch – Travel Vision

Says Otto de Vries, CEO ASATA: “Congratulations to all our worthy winners and thank you to all those who took the time to nominate their colleagues, peers and employees.

“Our thanks to the judges who were selected for their expertise and standing in the travel industry.  Their non-partisan participation and generous contribution of their time and expertise is greatly valued.

“Finally, our sincere gratitude to Diners Club for their very generous sponsorship of these prestigious awards and their laudable commitment, support and belief in the travel industry in recognising travel professionals and awarding them these accolades.”

To find out more about the finalists, the winners and more details, visit the Awards website on; www.asata-dinersclub-awards.co.za

Industry leaders commit to ASATA Charter

South Africa’s leading travel agent groupings have made a groundbreaking public commitment to the South African consumer to continue providing professional service, conduct themselves ethically and behave in a trustworthy manner, thus endorsing the Association of Southern African Travel Agents as the benchmark of professionalism in the region’s travel industry.

At this weekend’s ASATA Conference in Somerset West, travel consortia, comprising 85% of South Africa’s retail travel industry, signed the ASATA Charter which outlines their continued commitment to delivering fair and transparent business practices, the highest ethical standards to further the industry’s professionalism, providing high-quality service, and confronting inappropriate behaviour and practices when dealing with customers and partners, among other commitments.

This ongoing commitment ensures ASATA members continue to meet consumers’ needs of value and security by maintaining the highest level of expertise and professionalism.

“The ASATA Charter reflects members’ commitment to ensuring the South African consumer will ‘Travel with Peace of Mind’ when booking through an ASATA member,” explains Otto de Vries, ASATA CEO.

“By displaying the ASATA logo proudly, our members are saying that they believe in and are committed to delivering to their customers on the promise of providing professional service, conducting themselves ethically, behaving in a trustworthy manner and being a market leader.”

Members who sign this Charter furthermore commit to being accountable and responsible in rectifying any violation of the ASATA Charter and to strive to prevent any recurrence.

Advisory: VAT on ‘long stays’ revised

Members should be advised that there are changes in the recently reissued SARS GUIDE as it pertains to the wording around ‘long stays’.

If a “commercial accommodation” (defined in paragraph 2.5 on page 10 of the VAT 411 guide attached) is provided by a VAT vendor to a customer or resident, for an unbroken period of 29 days or more, on an “all-inclusive charge” basis, only 60% of the “all-inclusive charge” will be subject to VAT at the standard rate (i.e. currently 14%).

Note that if the domestic goods and services are supplied separately for a separate consideration, then the full charge is subject to 14% VAT (not only 60%).

“Domestic goods and services” are defined –  see paragraph 2.4 (on page 10) and see 5.2.3 (on page 36). Note that the full value of goods and services supplied by the accommodation establishment which do not fall within the definition of “Domestic goods and services” (but which are not exempt or zero-rated) will always attract VAT at the standard rate, whether included in the “all-inclusive” tariff or not.

“All –inclusive charge” is defined –  see paragraph 2.2.

An Enterprise needs to supply at least R120 000 (see paragraph 5.2.4 on page 37) (was R60 000 up to 31 March 2016) receipts and accruals from the supply of accommodation per annum to qualify as an enterprise (it no longer needs this turnover to qualify as a Commercial accommodation. It cannot claim VAT input if it’s not an “Enterprise” for VAT purposes. It needs to de-register from VAT if this type of turnover is less than R120 000 per annum from 1 April 2016.

The on-charging of the initial costs along the supplier chain will be as normal:

  • Supplier 1  (pays VAT output to SARS) charges Supplier 2 (claims VAT input)
  • Supplier 2 (pays VAT output to SARS) charges Customer (pays the Tax Invoice inclusive of the VAT, and cannot claim the VAT input unless it is a VAT vendor qualifying to claim the qualifying VAT).

The above is an opinion and interpretation of the VAT legislation and guide. It covers broad principals only. It is based on information contained in the SARS guide. Any inaccuracies in any areas are not the responsibility of ASATA. The comments should be used as guidance only.

 Travelling to or from the US – arrive prepared

If international media reports are anything to go by, passengers travelling to and from airports in the United States can expect extreme delays at security checkpoints.

 

Media are referring to the current delays at US airports as the ‘worse-than-ever-wait times at security’ and speculation is rife on how long the current situation will last. Most reports forecast that these long wait times will last through the US’s busy summer travel season, while other reports indicate that wait times will persist at least through the end of the year when a new budget might be approved for the TSA to flesh out its poorly staffed teams.

 

In a statement published by the TSA, it said that it normally screens nearly two million passengers daily and that passenger volumes are currently up more than 7% compared to the same time period last year.

 

However, the TSA said that passenger preparedness can have a significant impact on wait times at security checkpoints nationwide. To facilitate the security screening process, TSA is reminding travellers to follow these tips:

 

  • Arrive early to the airport to allow enough time to park, get your boarding pass, check your baggage, and go through the checkpoint.
  • Print out boarding passes prior to arriving at the airport.
  • Know what is in your bag. Passengers who bring prohibited items to the checkpoint slow the screening process for themselves and everyone behind them. If in doubt about an item, use the “When I fly can I bring my…” tool on tsa.gov to make sure your item is permitted in carry-on and/or checked baggage.
  • Pack your liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in compliance with the 3-1-1 liquids rule. Passengers who violate this rule will also cause delays for themselves and everyone behind them.
  • Remove all items from your pockets and put the items into your carry-on bag or into a bin when you get to the checkpoint. You may save time if you remove everything from your pockets before you get to the checkpoint.
  • Reduce the amount of congestion in your carry-on bag. Doing so will enable it to move through screening faster.
  • Avoid wearing large metal jewellery or clothing with large metal embellishments to reduce the possibility of alarming the screening machine.
  • Pay close attention to the instructions that the TSA officers provide at the checkpoint. This helps the process move along efficiently.

Taxed to travel…

As if the weak rand were not enough of a damper on overseas travel for South Africans, international destinations have now also increasingly started imposing additional tourist taxes. Spain, Malta, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are among those that have recently started imposing fees to travel to these destinations.

Spain’s Balearic Islands recently jumped onto the tourist tax bandwagon. In March this year, Spanish authorities announced a €2 (R34) tax per person per day for anyone staying at a 4- or 5-star hotel and €1 (R17) per person per day for travellers opting for lower graded accommodation. The tax will be effective for anyone travelling to the Balearic Islands after July 1, even for travellers who made the reservation prior to the announcement of the new taxes.

Barcelona also wants a piece of the cake. The city has been implementing a tourist tax of €0,72 (R12) per person per night since 2012, but now wants to introduce a tax on day trippers. The tax could be imposed on cruise liners as they dock, and in road tolls on coaches as they arrive in the city. Foreign cars could also be subject to road tolls or increased charges for parking.

A new decree in Abu Dhabi imposes a 4% municipality fee on hotel bills as well as a AED15 (R61) charge per night per room. Etihad Airways confirmed that new passenger facilities charge of AED 35 (R140) will also be applicable to all tickets sold on or after May 1 for travel on or after June 30 from Abu Dhabi International Airport.

And, people travelling to Malta will also be charged a new fee from June this year, which will amount to 40p (R6) per night, but this will be capped at €5 (R85). The destination hopes to raise €6m (R103m) a year.

Though unpopular, tourist taxes have long been used by popular destinations such as Paris and Dubai to boost the local government coffers.

Telegraph Travel compared some of Europe’s top destinations to find out, basing calculations on a family of four – two adults and two children aged 16 – staying in five-star accommodation for seven nights.

Italy emerged as the most levy-heavy destination, with families paying up to £153 (R3 317) extra in city taxes for a trip to the capital. A family spending a week in the Cote d’Azur, meanwhile, can expect to pay up to £65 (R1 408) in local taxes.

At a glance | Tourist taxes for a family of 4 for 7 nights

Destination Tourist tax
Rome €196 (R3 354)
Florence €140 (R2 396)
Venice €100 (R1 711)
Paris €92.40 (R1 581)
Nice €84 (R1 437)
Barcelona €69.44 (R1 188)
Bruges €59.36 (R1 015)
Balearic Islands €56 (R958)
Dubrovnik €25.76 (R440)
Prague

 

€16.80 (R287)