Based on a not-for-profit model, STC is following the UK lead in providing greater safeguards for parents and schools making travel tour bookings after many have suffered financial losses and stress through cancellations.
It is the brainchild of Brent Imrie (Tour Time), Stephen Gillingham (Defining Moments) and Steve Lee (Travel to Learn). Since its inception, more members – Ashleigh Hamilton (EdventureTours Travel) and Michael Service (Educational Journeys) – have come on board. Members must commit to Qualmark and Worksafe NZ approval and, crucially, the Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) financial bonding scheme. They are also required to be IATA accredited.
‘STC members do not and will not hold clients’ funds as future travel credits,’ says Imrie. ‘We do not engage in or endorse the practice of holding clients’ funds in the form of travel credit. The only unavoidable credits are those held by a supplier, such as an airline or hotel that does not issue refunds.’