ITAA Members Code of Conduct

Irish Travel Agents Association Limited

 

Bye-Laws

 

(As amended by a Resolution passed at a Meeting of the Board of Directors held at the offices of the ITAA on Tuesday 9 December 2008)

 

Unless the contrary is clearly stated, the meanings ascribed to words and phrases in the Articles of Association of the Irish Travel Agents Association Limited shall have the same meanings in these Bye-Laws.

 

Preamble

 

The Bye-Laws and Code of Conduct of the Association (as amended from time to time) set down inter alia the fundamental aspirations of the Association as the sole body which regulates professional standards for Travel Agents and Tour Operators in Ireland.

 

By setting standards which are necessary in the interests of the common good and by promoting free and fair competition, the Association endeavours to ensure that both development of the industry and the interest of the consumer are well served.

 

The Association seeks to promote free and fair competition and to expand its membership through goodwill generated by consumers who have benefited from the professional standards set by the Association and observed by its Members.  To achieve and maintain standards, applicants for membership of the Association must attain the reasonable minimum standards which have been set in the interest of the common good.

 

It is recognised that as the profession is divided into two fields of endeavour, that of tour operating and retail agency, the consumer’s interest can only be effectively protected where all aspects of the service provided are subject to standards and control.

 

Part I

 

Terms Of Membership Of The Association

 

1.1.00 – Application For Membership

 

1.1.01     (a)           Any person, firm or corporation carrying on the business of Tour Operator and/or Retail Travel Agent for a period of at least twelve consecutive months (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Business’) may upon the nomination in writing signed by or on behalf of two Members of at least five years standing (‘the Proposers’) apply for membership of the Association in the class appropriate to his/its field of activity in such form and accompanied by such information in writing as the Board of Directors shall from time to time prescribe.

 

                (b)           The Proposers shall furnish the Board of Directors with such character, trade and other references for the applicant as may be requested.  The Proposers shall be responsible for the accuracy of information supplied by them to the Board of Directors.

 

                (c)           In the case of an application for membership of the Association in the class of Retail Travel Agent, at least one of the Proposers shall be a Member of the Regional Grouping appropriate to the location of the applicant’s principal place of business.

 

(d)           In the case of an application for membership of the Association in the Class of Tour Operator, at least one of the Proposers shall be a Member of the Tour Operators Council.

 

(e)           Subject as hereinafter provided the requirement that an applicant carry on the business for a period of at least twelve consecutive months prior to applying for membership of the Association may be waived by the Board of Directors in any of the following circumstances:-

 

(i) where the Applicant applying for membership is part of the immediate family of a former Member of at least two years standing and is applying for membership of the Association consequent upon the death or retirement of the said former Member and intends to continue to carry on the former Member’s Business as his successor;

 

(ii) where the applicant is a body corporate, the ownership of which is entirely vested in a former Member of at least two years standing who has ceased to be a Member in his personal capacity and who has indicated his intention to continue trading through the applicant body corporate first herein referred to;

 

(iii) where the applicant is a body corporate, the ownership of which is entirely vested in a Member or in a person(s) or corporation who/which has a controlling interest in a Member and who/which has acquired or established the said body corporate for the purpose of separating his/its Retail Travel Agency/Tour Operating businesses or has done so in compliance with a directive issued by some competent authority exercising control over the conduct of his/its business or any part thereof;

 

(iv) where the applicant is a body corporate, a controlling interest of which has in any circumstances become vested in a Member or in a person(s) or corporation who/which has a controlling interest in a Member;

 

(v) where the applicant is applying in compliance with the requirements of Clause 1.2.01(c ), hereof; 

 

(vi) where in the opinion of the Board of Directors expressed by resolution the provisions of Clause 1.1.01(a) would , if applied be inequitable having regard to all the circumstances.

 

Provided Always however that in respect of any applicant seeking to benefit from the provisions of this Clause 1.1.01 (e) the Board of Directors shall be  entitled to  attach  such  conditions  or impose such restrictions, to or upon membership of the applicant as the Board of Directors shall in its absolute discretion consider appropriate.

 

1.1.02     Applications shall be accompanied by the appropriate fee and the Board of Directors shall not consider any application unless so accompanied.

 

1.1.03     Applicants for membership in the class of Retail Travel Agent and/or Tour Operator shall satisfy the Board of Directors of the following before being admitted to membership:-

 

(a)           that they are a duly licensed Retail Travel Agent and/or Tour Operator          (as the case may be);and

 

(b)           that not less than two full-time suitably qualified employees will work in the business.

 

1.2.00 – Terms Of Membership

 

1.2.01     (a)           Any Member who is engaged in the business of both Retail Travel Agent and Tour Operator and whose gross annual turnover in tour operating business exceeds IR£200,000 shall apply for membership of the Association in both Retail Travel Agent and Tour Operator classes.

 

(b)           All Members (of any class) who carry on the Business at more than one location shall be required to pay an annual subscription in respect of each such location the amount of which shall be determined by the Board of Directors, failure to pay such subscription shall incur a fine of IR£200 per branch.

 

(c)           Members shall be required to ensure that an application for membership of the Association shall be made in respect of the following:-

 

(i) All holding and/or subsidiary companies (as defined in Section 155 of the Companies Act, 1963) of the Member which are either Retail Travel Agents or Tour Operators or both; and

 

(ii) All associated companies (as defined in Section 16(1) (b) of the Companies (Amendment) Act, 1986) of the Member which are either Retail Travel Agents or Tour Operators or both; and

 

 

(iii) All holding and/or subsidiary and associated companies (as defined in Section 155 of the Companies Act, 1963 and Section 16 (1)(b) of the Companies (Amendment) Act), 1986, respectively) of such companies required to apply for membership of the Association pursuant to Clauses 1.2.01(c) and/or (2) hereof which are either Retail Travel Agents or Tour Operators or both; and

 

(iv) All related companies (as defined in Section 141 of the Companies Act, 1990) of the Members which are either Retail Travel Agents or Tour Operators or both.

 

 

(d)           With effect from 1st October, 1998, all Members shall have both public liability and professional indemnity insurance cover in place in respect of their activities as Retail travel Agent, Tour Operator and Organiser.

 

(e)           A Member or applicant for membership of the Association shall, upon the request of the Board of Directors produce an auditor’s certificate to substantiate his right to membership in the class of Retail  Travel Agent.  Such certificate shall confirm that the member does not carry on tour operating business in respect of which his gross annual turnover exceeds IR£200,000.

 

(f)            Every Member shall be bound to provide such bond, guarantee or other security as the Minister for Transport shall from time to time require and to comply in all respects with current applicable requirements for Government licensing of the Business.

 

 

(g)           The annual subscription for Members shall be payable on 1st October in each year and the amount of such subscription fee for each class of Member shall be determined by resolution of the Board of Directors from time to time.

 

  • Any Member who fails to pay his annual subscription within one month of the

due date set down in Clause 1.2.01(g) shall forthwith upon the expiration of that period cease to be a Member.

 

1.2.02     Any applicant admitted to membership in the class of Retail Travel Agent may apply for participation in the Group Bonding Schemes operated by the Association.  Provided always however that the Board of Directors shall be entitled to attach such condition or impose such restrictions, to or upon, the relevant Member’s membership of the Association as the Board of Directors shall in its absolute discretion consider appropriate.

 

1.2.03     The premises used for Business by Members shall:-

 

(a)           where a public office is operated by the Member , have a  public office open to the public during business hours, have same, clearly identified as a travel office and freely accessible to the general public;

 

(b)           have a suitable heating and ventilation system and be equipped and decorated in accordance with accepted office standards in the relevant area and in accordance with any relevant Health and Safety legislation;

 

(c)           be equipped with storage facilities for confidential documents and cash which shall be accessible only to authorised personnel; and

 

(d)           be equipped with suitable communication facilities so that the Member may be contacted at all times.

 

1.2.04     Members shall employ an appropriate number of qualified staff who shall have a proficient knowledge of all aspects of the Business including (but not limited to) a knowledge of :-“

 

(a)           booking procedures and conditions operated by the Members and other principals with whom Members have dealings;

 

(b)           all available travel insurance schemes;

 

(c)           the provisions of the Transport (Tour Operators and Travel Agents) Act, 1982 and the Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act, 1995 and regulations made thereunder in so far as they affect the Business carried on by the Member;and

 

(d)           transport law and consumer legislation relevant to the Business carried on.

 

1.3.00 – General

 

1.3.01     The Board of Directors shall have the right to request that staff of an applicant for membership demonstrate by written or oral test that they are competent to handle any aspect of the Business for which they are responsible.

 

1.3.02     The Board of Directors shall have absolute discretion in determining whether to accept or reject an application for membership and shall not be bound to provide any reason for its decision upon the rejection of any application for membership of the Association.

 

1.3.03     Upon election, a Member’s name shall be entered by the Secretary in the Register of Members of the Association.

 

1.3.04     Every Member shall during normal business hours, whether with or without prior notice, allow the President (or any person authorised by him) all facilities necessary to inspect any premises  in  which the Member carries on the Business, for the purpose of satisfying the Board of Directors that the provisions of these Bye-Laws have been complied with.

 

1.3.05     (a)           Membership shall, in the case of each Member be reviewed annually by the Chief Executive.  Any perceived or actual breach by a Member of the Bye-Laws, Code of Conduct or other regulation governing the Business may be considered and if deemed appropriate by the Chief Executive, the Member may be called upon to explain and account for this conduct before the Professional Standards Committee and/or the Disciplinary Committee.

 

(b)           Each Member shall be obliged to furnish annually, to the Chief Executive of the Association, such information and in such format as may be determined by the Board of Directors from time to time.

 

(c)           The Board of Directors shall have power to make such regulations and orders as it deems appropriate with regard to the time for submission of the aforementioned annual return together with the type and detail of information required to be furnished therein by a Member.

 

(d)           If any Member fails to furnish the Chief Executive with the said annual return by the designated time or in the event that a Member fails to supply any or all of the required information, then that Member shall be deemed to have terminated his membership of the Association and shall not be entitled to seek reinstatement unless and until the said annual return has been furnished and a special application to the Board of Directors reinstatement has been made and accepted.

 

1.3.06     A MEMBER SHALL NOT, WITHOUT FIRST ADVISING THE ASSOCIATION          PERMIT OR SUFFER:-

 

               

(a)           where the Member is a body corporate:-

                               

(i) a beneficial interest in excess of 10% of the issued share capital of the Member to pass to any person/persons other than those having a controlling interest in the Member at the date of admission to membership of the Association whether that transfer occurs by way of inheritance, purchase, forfeiture or otherwise;

 

(ii) a change to take place in its board of directors;

 

(iii) the Member to undergo any reorganisation or have any part of its Business transferred to a subsidiary or associated company of the Member or another Member or a non Member or to acquire an interest in any travel business.;

 

(iv) the name of the Member to be changed.

 

(b)           where the Member is a partnership:

                               

(i) any change in the partnership name or constitution;

 

(ii) any partner to retire, resign or otherwise leave the partnership;

 

(iii) any new partner to be added to the partnership;

 

(iv) the Member to undergo any reorganisation or have any part of its Business transferred to a subsidiary or associated company of the Member, any other Member or a non-member or to acquire an interest in any travel business.

 

IN EACH AND EVERY SUCH CASE, THE ASSOCIATION SHALL HAVE THE OPTION TO TERMINATE THE MEMBER’S MEMBERSHIP OF THE ASSOCIATION WITHOUT LIABILITY SUBJECT TO THE MEMBER’S RIGHT TO APPLY FOR RE-ADMISSION TO MEMBERSHIP OF THE ASSOCIATION AFTER SUCH TERMINATION.

 

1.3.07     If in the case of any Member of the Association which is a partnership or body corporate, there shall occur a change in its financial control, the Member shall within seven days apply to the Board of Directors for continuance of its membership and shall supply all such information and documents as the Board of Directors may require for the purpose of deciding whether or not to grant the application. The Board of Directors may grant the application either unconditionally or subject to such conditions as it may think fit, or may terminate the membership of such Member after affording to it a period of not less than twenty eight days in which to make representations in  writing and considering representations. A Member may appeal in accordance with Bye-Law 3.10.00 to the Appeal Board. For the purposes of this Clause 1.3.07. a change in the financial control shall mean in relation to a partnership, a change in the identity of the partners entitled to a majority of its profits, and in the case of a body corporate, a change in the identity of the persons who are for the time being the beneficial owners of a majority of its issued share capital excluding any part thereof which, neither as respects dividends nor as respects capital, carries any right to participate beyond a specified amount in a distribution.

 

1.4.00     Cessation of Membership

 

  • The Board of Directors may if it thinks fit summarily terminate the membership of the Association in any of the following events:-

 

  • if a Member being an individual or partner in a partnership which is a Member:-

 

(i) as a receiving order in bankruptcy made against him or enters into a composition with his creditors; or

 

(ii) cannot in the opinion of the Board of Directors meet his liabilities;

 

(b)       if a Member being a body corporate goes into liquidation (not being voluntary liquidation for the purpose only of reconstruction or amalgamation) or has a receiver appointed of its undertaking or any part thereof;

 

(c)                   if a Member or a partner in a partnership which is a Member or a director or officer of a Member which is a body corporate fails to observe or contravenes any of the provisions of these Bye-Laws (including the Code of Conduct applicable to him) or any of the lawful rules or regulations of the Association for the time being in force or which is guilty, in the opinion of the Board of Directors, of conduct which unfits him or the body corporate of which he is a partner or director or officer to continue as a Member;

 

  •                if a Member ceases to fulfil all the conditions and qualifications for

membership contained in these Bye-Laws;

 

(e)                  if in the opinion of the Board of Directors any change has occurred in the status, nature or condition of a Member, or of a partner in a partnership which is a Member or of a director or officer of such body corporate which is a Member which unfits him or such partnership or body corporate to continue as a Member.

 

1.4.02 Any Member aggrieved by the termination of his membership pursuant to Clause 1.4.01 hereof, may appeal in accordance with Clause 3.10.00 to the Appeal Board, and pending the determination of the appeal his membership shall not be terminated.

 

Part 2

 

Code Of Conduct For Members Of The Association

 

(The Code)

 

2.1.00 – Objectives Of The Code

 

 

2.1.01     To ensure that the public receives the best possible service from Tour Operators and Retail Travel Agents who are Members of the Association.

 

2.1.02     To maintain and enhance the reputation, standing and good name of the Association and its Members.

 

2.1.03     To encourage initiative and enterprise in the belief that properly regulated, competitive trading between Tour Operators and Retail Travel Agents will best serve the public interest and the aspirations of the travel industry.

 

2.1.04     To ensure that the public interest shall be of paramount importance in the establishment of standards of competitive trading between Tour Operators and Retail Travel Agents.

 

2.1.05     To encourage the growth and development of the travel industry in a manner consistent with these objectives.

 

2.2.00 – General

 

2.2.01     The Code is designed to regulate the activities of Members between themselves and the public.

 

2.2.02     The Code recognises the necessity for enforcement of standards and practices and embodies measures and procedures by which Members may uphold the Code under the authority of the Board of Directors.

 

2.2.03     The Code sets out procedures for dealing with consumer complaints by systems of conciliation  to be established in accordance with the provisions of the standard Booking Conditions authorised by the Association.

 

 

 

 

 

2.3.00 – Definitions

 

 

Advertising:         For the purposes of the Code, advertising is any means of promoting Package’s Travel Arrangements or other services by publication other than through a Brochure.

 

Brochure:             For the purpose of the Code, a brochure is a publication which provides a comprehensive description of the contents of a Package or Travel Arrangement offered by a Member when acting as an Organiser or a Tour Operator.

 

Incentive:             For the purpose of the Code, an incentive is an offer in cash or kind to persons to persuade them to sell a Package or Travel Arrangement.

 

 

Inducement:         For the purpose of the Code, an inducement is an offer not included in a Brochure, to persuade customers to buy a Package or Travel Arrangement.

 

Organiser:           For the purpose of the Code means a person who other than occasionally organises Packages and sells or offers them for sale to a consumer, whether directly or through a retailer.

 

 

Package:               For the purpose of the Code is a combination at least two of the following components pre-arranged by the Organiser when sold or offered for sale at an inclusive price and when the service covers a period of more than twenty-four hours or includes overnight accommodation:-

 

                (a)           transport;

 

                (b)           accommodation;

 

                (c)           other tourist services, not ancillary to transport or accommodation,                                                                 accounting for a significant proportion of the package.

 

 

Promotion:          For the purposes of the Code, a promotion is an activity designed to stimulate the sale or purchase of a Package or Travel  Arrangement offered by a Tour Operator or by an Organiser by means other than Inducements, Incentives or Advertising.

 

 

Published Price: For the purposes of the Code, the published price is the combined total cost of all component parts of the Package or Travel Arrangement (inclusive of all taxes and levies known at the time the Brochure was published) as stated in the Brochure.

 

Travel

Arrangement:     For the purpose of the Code shall mean all travel arrangements other than                                     Packages.

 
2.4.00 – Conduct Between Members Acting

As Organisers/Tour Operators And Members Of The Public

 

 

2.4.01     Minimum Standards of Brochure

 

                Without prejudice to paragraph 2.4.02 of this Code, every Brochure published by or in the name of any Organiser/Tour Operator shall contain clear, comprehensive and accurate information to  enable the customer to exercise an informed judgement in making his choice, including:-

 

(a)           all information necessary to comply with the reasonable recommendations for the time being of the Director of Consumer Affairs and the regulations of any other governmental or statutory licensing authority;

 

(b)           the proper legal designation of the Organiser/Tour Operator responsible for publishing the brochure;

 

(c)           the transport, destination, means, characteristics and categories used (e.g. ship, coach, charter or other aircraft);

 

(d)           the itinerary where applicable;

 

 

(e)           the standard of accommodation and meal facilities offered;

 

(f)            any additional facilities or special arrangements offered;

 

(g)           the total price or the means of calculating the total price together with a clear statement of the services included therein, the date on which the price in the brochure was set and the conditions under which the price may be amended;

 

(h)           the procedure for booking and the contractual conditions under which the booking shall be made; and

 

(i)            an accurate summary of the details of insurance facilities offered. 

 
2.4.02     Statutory Requirement for Brochures

 

                Every Brochure and Advertisement published by a Member shall observe the requirements of the Consumer Information Act, 1978; the Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act, 1995; the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act, 1980; and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, 1995and any Regulations made under such legislation and shall not contain any inaccurate or misleading information.

 

2.4.03     Publication and Use of Brochures

 

                No Member shall publish or consent to the publication of, or sell or consent to the sale of,  Packages or Travel Arrangements from any Brochure which does not conform with the requirements of the Code where applicable.

 

2.4.04     Booking Conditions

 

                Note:      The Association provides standard booking conditions which have been prepared in accordance with current legal requirements.  It is strongly recommended that Members adopt uniform booking conditions and documentation for dealing with customers.

 

(a)           Booking conditions shall define the extent of responsibilities as well as the limit of liabilities of Organisers/Tour Operators to customers and shall be so designed that they are capable of being understood by a customer.

 

(b)           Booking conditions shall not include clauses:-

 

(i) purporting to exclude responsibility for misrepresentations made by the Tour Operator, his servants or agents;

 

(ii) purporting to exclude responsibility for the Tour Operator’s contractual duty to exercise diligence in making arrangements for his customers; and

 

(iii) requiring that complaints be made within a fixed period after the completion of a Package or Travel Arrangement if such a period is of less than 28 days after such completion.

 

(c)           Booking conditions and/or Brochures shall prominently indicate the circumstances and the conditions in which surcharges may be made to customers.

 

(d)           Tour Operators shall interpret booking conditions in accordance with the provisions of the Code.

 

(e)           Booking conditions shall clearly indicate the Organiser/Tour Operator’s general policy in the event of it being necessary to cancel or alter a Package or Travel Arrangement

 

 

2.4.05     Cancellations of Packages or other Travel

                Arrangements by Organisers/Tour Operators

 

                If an Organiser/Tour Operator cancels a Package/Travel Arrangement for any reason, he shall inform agents and all direct customers as soon as possible and shall advise customers of the choice of an alternative Package/Travel Arrangement, if available, or a prompt refund of money paid.

 

2.4.06     Alterations to Packages by  Organisers/Tour Operators

 

                If it becomes necessary to make a material alteration to a Package/Travel Arrangement for which bookings have already been made, the Organiser/Tour Operator shall inform agents and all direct customers without delay and shall give customers the choice of either accepting the alteration or of receiving a prompt refund of money paid (less reasonable expenses).  In this context, material alterations shall not include delays in departure of Packages/Travel Arrangements caused by weather conditions, technical problems or transport, strikes, industrial action or other circumstances beyond the control of the Organiser/Tour Operator.

 

2.4.07     Cancellation of Packages/Travel Arrangements by Customers

 

                An Organiser/Tour Operator shall clearly state in his booking conditions the amount and/or the basis for calculating, all cancellation fees which the customer shall be liable to incur, as well as the circumstances under which the customer shall be liable to pay such fees.

 

2.4.08     Complaints

 

(a)           Complaints shall be dealt with promptly and efficiently and in the event of a dispute with a customer, every effort shall be made to settle the matter amicably and quickly.

 

(b)           All correspondence from the Association concerning complaints shall be dealt with promptly.

 

2.4.09     Conciliation

 

                If a serious disagreement between the Organiser/Tour Operator and a customer arises, the Association  may intervene to give guidance and to offer conciliation facilities if requested to do so by either party.

 

2.4.10     Transactions & Correspondence

 

                All transactions with customers shall be treated as confidential and correspondence shall be dealt with promptly.

 

2.4.11     Insurance

 

                An Organiser/Tour Operator should ensure that customers obtain adequate insurance cover. and are made aware of the limitations and exclusions contained therein.  In the event that a customer chooses not to avail of any insurance cover, he should be requested to declare same in writing.

 

2.4.12    Misleading use of the ITAA Symbol

 

                An Organiser/Tour Operator shall not, directly or indirectly, cause a company or firm which is not a Member to represent itself as a Member by the use of the ITAA symbol or by any other means which give an impression to the public that such company or firm is a Member.

 

2.4.13     Payment of Accounts

 

                Members shall settle all accounts without delay.

 

2.4.14    Direct selling by Tour Operators

 

                Organisers/Tour Operators selling Packages and other Travel Arrangements direct to the public shall conform so far as is applicable with the Retail Travel Agent’s Code of Conduct in respect of such sales.

 

2.5.00 – Conduct Between Organisers/Tour Operators

And Retail Travel Agents               

 

2.5.01     Agency Agreement

 

(a)           An Organiser/Tour Operator shall advise his Retail Travel Agents in writing of the terms and prices upon which they may sell their Packages and Travel Arrangements from time to time.

 

(b)           The terms of the agency agreements shall be those stipulated by the Organiser/Tour Operator and accepted by the Retail Travel Agent which comply with the Articles of Association and the Code.

 

(c)           An Agency Agreement has been prepared on the joint recommendation of the Tour Operators Council.  It is recommended that this agreement should be adhered to by Members of the Association.

 

2.5.02     Tickets, Documentation and Accounts

 

(a)           It shall be the duty of Organisers/Tour Operators to remit without undue delay to the Retail Travel Agents confirmation of accounts and all other documents, as well as providing any other relevant information appertaining to a Package or Travel Arrangement booked, to enable the agent to transmit these to the customer within a reasonable period before departure.

 

(b)           Organisers/Tour Operators shall render their accounts and settle refunds without undue delay.

 
2.5.03     Incentives

 

                Any Incentives as defined in paragraph 2.3of the Code shall only be offered by an Organiser/Tour Operator through the management of a Retail  Travel Agent and not direct to the Retail Travel Agent’s staff.  As there should be some measure of control over Incentives, it should be left to the discretion of the management of a Retail Travel Agent whether or not an Incentive is to be taken up.  No Incentives shall be used to effect reductions in published prices as defined in paragraph 2.3 of the Code.

 

2.5.04     Promotions

 

                Promotions may take place between Organisers/Tour Operators and Retail Travel Agents or between Tour Operators and members of the public and shall comply with all the relevant provisions of the Code.

 

2.5.05     Emergency Contact

 

                To facilitate emergency contact by Retail  Travel Agents, Tour Operators shall supply telephone numbers where they may be contacted outside office hours

 

2.6.00 – Retail Travel Agents’ Code of Conduct

 

2.6.01     Conduct between Retail Travel Agents and members of the public

 

(a)           Retail Travel Agents shall maintain a high standard in serving the public and shall comply with all relevant statutory requirements.

 

(b)           Retail Travel Agents shall make every effort to ensure that accurate and impartial information is provided to enable their clients to exercise an informed judgement in making a choice of facilities.

 

(c)           Retail Travel Agents shall endeavour to ensure that their clients are not sold Packages or Travel Arrangements incompatible with their requirements.

 

(d)           All advertising by Retail Travel Agents shall comply with all relevant statutory requirements and any recommendations set out by the Director of Consumer Affairs and in the case of joint advertising will be as agreed with the principals involved.

 

(e)           No advertisement, document or other publication, whether in writing or otherwise, shall contain anything which is likely to mislead the public.

 

(f)            Any Advertisement, document or other publication, whether in writing or otherwise, advertising Packages/Travel Arrangements shall accurately state all material information.

 

(g)           When alterations are made to Packages or Travel Arrangements for which bookings have already been accepted, Retail Travel Agents shall inform their clients immediately they are advised of the situation and act as intermediaries between their principals and clients in any subsequent negotiations.

 

(h)           Retail Travel Agents shall draw the attention of their clients to booking and other published conditions applicable to their Packages and Travel Arrangements and explain the provisions of same if requested to do so by their client.

 

(i)            Retail Travel Agents shall ensure that their conditions of booking are not in conflict with the Code of Conduct.

 

(j)            Retail Travel Agents shall ensure that their counter staff carefully study all Packages and travel programmes and Brochures so that they are able to impart accurate information to their clients and to sell more efficiently.

 

(k)           Retail Travel Agents shall ensure that booking forms are completed correctly.  All booking references shall be shown.

 

(l)            Retail Travel Agents shall draw the attention of their clients to any insurance facilities and cover available, including insurance relating to cancellation, and shall indicate any exclusion and limitations so that their clients may seek additional cover if deemed desirable or necessary.

 

(m)          Retails Travel Agents shall ensure that all travel and other documents received from principals are checked before delivering them to their clients and that any points requiring clarification are explained to their clients.

 

(n)           Retail Travel Agents, shall in respect of travel within the European Union advise of the necessary passport, visa and health requirements for the journey to be undertaken.  In respect of travel outside of the European Union, the Retail Travel Agent  shall at least advise customers of the need to contact the relevant diplomatic representative and their own doctor to establish same. Further, Retail Travel Agents shall assist customers with any other ancillary services which they may request and which are not covered by the booking, e.g. currency.

 

(o)           (i) In the event of a dispute with a client, Retail  Travel Agents shall make every effort to reach an amicable and speedy solution.

 

(ii) Retail Travel Agents shall make every reasonable effort to deal with complaints of a minor and general character with a view to avoiding recourse to principals.  When complaints are of such a nature that reference to the principal is necessary, a Retail Travel Agent shall use his best endeavours acting as an intermediary to bring about a satisfactory conclusion.

 

(p)           Transactions with clients shall be treated as confidential and correspondence shall be dealt with promptly.

 

(q)           Correspondence from the Association concerning complaints shall be dealt with promptly and efficiently.

 

(r)           A Retail Travel Agent shall not, directly or indirectly, cause a company or firm which is not a Member to represent itself as a Member by the use of the ITAA symbol on brochures or any other documents or by any other means which give a false impression to the public that such company or firm is a Member.

 

                (s)            Retail Travel Agents operating their own Packages shall conform to the Tour Operators’ Code of Conduct in respect of Packages.

 

(t)            Retail Travel Agents who apply a fee of any kind when consumers make bookings with them shall advise consumers of the fact that they apply such a fee prior to the consumers having made a booking with them and shall display in their premises, prominently, a sign setting down details of such fees.

 

2.7.00 – Conduct Between Retail Travel Agents

          And Organisers/Tour Operators

 

2.7.01     Publicity Material

 

                Retail Travel Agents shall not request publicity material for which a useful purpose cannot be foreseen.

 

2.7.02     Promotions

 

                Retail Travel Agents shall activate Promotions in co-operation with Organisers/Tour Operators to encourage the sale of Packages in their localities.

 

2.7.03     Advertising

 

                All advertising or other publicity initiated by Retail Travel Agents on behalf of an Organiser/Tour Operator shall be in a form and manner agreed with the Organiser/Tour Operator.

 

2.7.04     Emergency Contact

 

                To facilitate emergency contact by Organisers/Tour Operators, Retail Travel Agents shall supply telephone numbers where they may be contacted outside office hours.

 

2.7.05     Payment of Accounts

 

                Retail Travel Agents shall settle all accounts without delay or within the agreed period, if any.

 

2.7.06     Formal written Agency Agreements

 

                Organisers/Tour Operators and Retail Travel Agents may enter into formal arrangements for the purpose of regulating commercial affairs between themselves.  Any such arrangement should not conflict with the provisions of the Code or those of the Articles of Association.

 

2.8.00 – Conduct Between Retail Travel Agents

 

 

2.8.01     General

 

                Retail Travel Agents shall deal fairly with one another and shall not damage the reputation of nor disparage the business practices of, or prices charged or services offered by, other Retail Travel Agents.

 

2.8.02     Advertised Prices

 

                When prices have been advertised to the public, business shall be transacted only at those prices unless price changes become necessary due to alterations authorised and advised by principals and official bodies.

 

 

2.9.00 – Conduct Between Retail Travel Agents

       And Principals Who Are Not Members Of The Association

 

 

2.9.01     Standard of Service

 

                Retail Travel Agents shall give a full service to the principals they represent and shall conform to all lawful and reasonable instructions issued to them as agents of such principals.

 

2.9.02     Emergency Contact

 

                To facilitate emergency contact Retail Travel Agents shall supply a telephone number where they may be contacted outside office hours.

 

2.9.03     Payment of Account

 

                Retail Travel Agents shall settle accounts without delay and within the agreed period.

 

2.10.00 – ITAA Arbitration Scheme

 

2.10.01 Members shall be entitled to participate in the Arbitration Scheme arranged by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators – Irish Branch on behalf of Members when acting as Organisers. Any Members participating in the ITAA Arbitration Scheme shall complete the necessary formalities promptly and efficiently and shall comply with the terms of the scheme.

 

2.10.02 Any Member who fails to comply with the requirements of paragraph 2.10.02 of this Code shall be referred to the Professional Standards Committee. If the Professional Standards Committee concludes that a failure by the Member to comply with the requirements of paragraph 2.10.01 of this Code has been established, it shall have the power to withdraw the benefit of participation in the ITAA Arbitration Scheme from such Member.

 

Part 3

 

Organisation Of Members Within The Association

 

3.1.00 – Regional Groupings

 

 

3.1.01     Members of the Association shall associate to form  nine (9) groupings as set down in Appendix A to these Bye-Laws.  Membership of a particular Regional Grouping shall be determined by the geographical location of the Member’s business premises.  Any dispute as to qualification for membership of a particular Regional Grouping shall be determined by the Board of Directors.

 

3.1.02     Members who are solely Tour Operator Members shall be entitled to attend and speak at meetings of all Regional Groupings of which they are members, but shall not be entitled to vote on any issue or resolution relative to the election of delegates to the Board of Directors, at such meetings, unless authorised to do so by resolution of the members of the relevant Regional Grouping.  Such authorisation may be specific to a particular topic or for a particular duration or both and may be withdrawn by resolution of the members of the relevant Regional Grouping.  Nothing in this Clause shall be construed as precluding Members who are both Tour Operator and Retail Travel Agent Members from voting on any issue or resolution relative to the election of delegates to the Board of Directors.

 

3.1.03     Without prejudice to Clause 3.1.04 hereof, before the Annual General Meeting of the Association each year, the Regional Groupings shall elect a total of seven (7) delegates to the Board of Directors.  Unless otherwise determined by the Board of Directors, such delegate (or delegates as the case may be) shall be appointed to the Board of Directors by the following Electoral Groups:-

 

Electoral Groups                               Number of Delegates

 

GROUP A: Regions 1 & 4 shall together elect            1

GROUP B: Regions 2 & 3 shall together elect            1

GROUP C: Regions 5 & 9 shall together elect            1

GROUP D: Region 6 shall elect                                      3

GROUP E: Regions 7 & 8 shall together elect            1

 

3.1.05     Every candidate for the Electoral Group elections shall be a Retail Travel Agent Member and shall be nominated by two other Members of the relevant Electoral Group.

 

3.1.06     The  appointment of such delegates to the Board of Directors shall take effect on the election of the President and Treasurer at the Annual General Meeting of the Association held immediately following the election of the delegates.

 

3.1.07     Regional Groupings shall have the power to meet and discuss matters affecting the interests of their members and the Association.  The Regional Groupings shall have no executive function in respect of the affairs of the Association other than in the appointment of delegates to the Board of Directors.

 

3.1.08     Before the Annual General Meeting in each year, each Regional Grouping shall elect a chairman and secretary from amongst its number.

 

3.2.00 – Tour Operators’ Council

 

 

3.2.01     The Tour Operators’ Council shall consist of all Tour Operators who are Members.

 

3.2.02     At the first meeting of the Tour Operators’ Council after the Annual General Meeting in each year, it shall from amongst its members elect a chairman, vice-chairman and secretary.  The chairman or other nominee of the Tour Operators Council appointed by resolution shall represent Tour Operators on the Board of Directors.

 

3.2.03     Subject to the ultimate and over riding authority of the Board of Directors and the provisions of the Articles of Association and Bye Laws, the Tour Operators Council shall exercise all functions relative to affairs affecting Members who are Tour Operators.

 

3.3.00 – Proceedings Of The Tour Operators Council

 

 

3.3.01     The Tour Operators’ Council may convene meetings of its members from time to time as it shall deem appropriate.

 

3.3.02     The quorum necessary for the transaction of the business of the Tour Operators’ Council meeting shall be not less than five.  The Tour Operators’ Council shall have power to adopt such standing orders as it shall deem appropriate.  Questions arising at any meeting shall be decided by a majority of votes.  Where there is an equality of votes the chairman shall have a second or casting vote.

 

3.3.03     The continuing members of the Tour Operators’ Council may act notwithstanding any vacancy in their number but, if and so long as their number shall be less than the quorum specified in Clause 3.3.02 hereof, the continuing members or member may only act for the purpose of requesting the relevant Member or Members in the class of Tour Operators to fill the vacancy or vacancies which have arisen.

 

3.3.04     A resolution in writing signed by all the members of the Tour Operators’ Council for the time being entitled to receive notice of a meeting of that Council shall be as valid as if it had been passed at a meeting of the Tour Operators’ Council duly convened and held.

 

3.3.05     At each Annual General Meeting of the Association the current Tour Operators’ Council shall retire from office.

 

3.3.06     The Board of Directors may at the request of the Tour Operators’ Council by resolution in writing, increase or reduce the number of members of the Tour Operators’ Council or the number fixed by the Bye-Laws as the quorum for the despatch of business thereof.

 

3.3.07     A member of the Tour Operators’ Council shall be deemed to have vacated his office if:-

 

(a)           he resigns from such office by notice in writing to the Chairman of the Tour Operators’ Council;

 

(b)           he ceases to carry on business as a Tour Operator;

 

(c)           he is adjudged bankrupt (or otherwise becomes insolvent) in Ireland or in any part of the world or makes any arrangement or composition with his creditors; or

 

(d)           he is absent for three consecutive meetings of the Council and it is resolved on the proposal of the Chairman that his office be vacated.

 

3.4.00 – The Disciplinary Committees

 

3.4.01     The Board of Directors shall from time to time appoint a Disciplinary Committee.  The Disciplinary Committee shall investigate alleged breaches of the rules of the Association and all complaints made against Members.  The Disciplinary Committee shall comprise of the following persons;

 

                (a)           a person having no financial interest in, or business connection with the travel industry;

 

                (b)           a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators having experience in dealing with disputes within the travel industry;

 

                (c)           the Chief Executive;

 

                (d)           the Association’s legal adviser; and

 

                (e)           a solicitor or barrister of not less than ten years standing.

 

                The Disciplinary Committee shall appoint from amongst themselves a chairman.

 

3.4.02     The Disciplinary Committee shall appoint a Secretary from amongst its number.  The Secretary shall keep, or cause to be kept, such records as are hereby required or otherwise deemed appropriate.

 

3.4.03     The quorum necessary for the transaction of business by the Disciplinary Committee may be varied by the Board of Directors but unless so varied shall be three.

 

3.4.04     The following records shall be kept by the Secretary:-

 

(a)           details of all alleged breaches of the rules of the Association and all complaints made against Members;

 

(b)           details of all disciplinary action taken against Members;

 

(c)           minutes of all resolutions and proceedings of the Disciplinary Committee.

 

3.4.05     There shall at all times be standing a Professional Standards Committee comprising of, the  Chief Executive, the Association’s legal adviser and such other person as the Chief Executive may select, being a person having no financial interest in, or business connection with, the travel industry.

 

3.5.00 – Procedure For Disciplinary Matters

 

3.5.01     No alleged breach of the Code or complaint made against a Member shall be investigated  by the Disciplinary Committee unless:-

 

(a)           the complaint is made in writing by the complainant and delivered to the Chief Executive of the Association; or

 

(b)           the complaint is initiated by the Chief Executive and is sent in writing to the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee.

 

                The Chief Executive may refuse in his absolute discretion to refer a complaint to the Disciplinary Committee or the Professional Standards Committee or may require further details of the complaint to be furnished before making such referral.

 

                In the event that the Chief Executive refuses to refer a complaint to the Professional Standards Committee or the Disciplinary Committee the complainant, if a Member may appeal his refusal to the Board of Directors in writing and the decision of the Board of Directors in this regard shall be final.

 

3.5.02     The Chief Executive may upon receipt of a complaint against a Member in his absolute discretion:

 

                (a)           refer the complaint to the Professional Standards Committee; or

 

                (b)           refer the complaint to the Disciplinary Committee; or

 

                (c)           may require further details of the complaint to be furnished before making such referral.; or

 

                (d)           refuse to refer a complaint to either the Professional Standards Committee or the Disciplinary Committee.

 

3.5.03     Upon receipt of a complaint, the Chief Executive shall (if he thinks fit) refer it to the Professional Standards Committee.  The Professional Standards Committee shall consider the complaint and carry out or cause to be carried out such investigation as it shall deem appropriate.  If after investigation the Professional Standards  Committee shall consider it necessary or desirable upon having met and discussed the complaint with the Member refer the matter to the Secretary of the Disciplinary Committee for consideration by the Disciplinary Committee at its next meeting.  The Disciplinary Committee shall at its next meeting consider the complaint and carry out or cause to be carried out such investigation as it shall deem appropriate.  If after investigation the Disciplinary Committee shall consider it necessary or desirable, it shall convene a formal disciplinary hearing to rule upon the matter.

 

3.5.04     The Member against whom a complaint or allegation lies shall be given not less than 14 days notice of the date, place and time of the disciplinary hearing at which the matter will be ruled upon, together with full details of the complaint or allegation made against him.

 

3.5.05     The Disciplinary Committee shall be entitled at any time to require a Member against whom a complaint lies to provide a written response to such complaint or to produce documentation, records or information connected with such complaint.  If a Member unreasonably refuses to comply with a request by the Disciplinary Committee to produce such documentation, records or information, his refusal shall be dealt with as a separate disciplinary matter punishable by fine or expulsion from membership of the Association.

 

3.5.06     If the Disciplinary Committee concludes that a contravention of the rules of the Association or an allegation has been established, it shall have the power to impose all or any combination of the following sanctions:-

 

(a)           issue a caution to the Member;

 

(b)           reprimand the Member;

 

(c)           impose a fine on the Member not exceeding IR£5,000 (or such other sum as may be designated by the Board of Directors from time to time);

 

(d)           suspend the Member from membership and all benefits of membership of the Association (with the exception, in the case of a participating Retail Travel Agent, of cover under the collective bond then in form for the unexpired period of such cover).

 

(e)           expel the Member from membership and withdraw all benefits of membership of the Association (with the exception, in the case of a participating Retail Travel Agent, of cover under the collective bond then in force, for the unexpired period of such cover).

 

 

 

3.6.00 – Procedures For Election Of The President And Treasurer

 

3.6.01     Candidates for election to the presidency or office of Treasurer of the Association shall be nominated in accordance with the provisions of the Articles of Association.

 

3.6.02     The Board of Directors shall appoint a scrutineer whose duty it shall be to organise and             oversee the election of the said officers.

 

3.6.03     The scrutineer shall have ballot papers prepared and numbered and shall ensure that each Member receives one ballot paper not later than 21 days before the Annual General Meeting of the Association.

 

3.7.00 – Casting Of Votes for Election of The President and Treasurer

 

3.7.01     Members shall cast their votes by marking their respective ballot papers in accordance with the scrutineer’s instructions.

 

3.7.02     Members shall be entitled to cast their votes either in person at the Annual General Meeting or by post:-

 

(a)           if at the Annual General Meeting, by placing the duly marked ballot paper in the official ballot box at such time as the scrutineer shall advise; or

 

(b)           if by post, by returning same to the scrutineer at such address as shall have been advised by the scrutineer such that it is delivered to the scrutineer not later than 7 days before the Annual General Meeting.

 

3.8.00 – Counting Of Votes And Declaration Of Result

 

3.8.01     The scrutineer shall arrange for the counting of all votes cast at the election of the President and the Treasurer.

 

  • The decision of the scrutineer with regard to the validity of a particular ballot papers shall be final.

 

3.8.03     The result of the election of the President and Treasurer shall be notified in writing by the scrutineer to the Chief Executive forthwith upon completion of the counting of votes.

 

3.8.04     The Board of Directors shall cause the result of the election to be announced at the Annual General Meeting or as soon thereafter as practicable and in all events not later than 48 hours after the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting.

 

3.8.05     The Board of Directors shall have the power to alter the time limits for the issue and return of ballot papers by and to the scrutineer.

 

3.8.06     The scrutineer shall ensure that all ballot papers are destroyed after the result of the election has been declared.

 

3.9.00 – Child Sex Tourism

 

3.9.01     Where an allegation is made against a Member that such a Member is knowingly involved in the promotion, organisation and/or offering for sale of Packages and/or Travel Arrangements involving the sexual exploitation of children, the Board of Directors shall appoint a Disciplinary Committee to investigate such an allegation.  Upon the Disciplinary Committee reaching a conclusion that the Member has been involved in such an activity, the Member shall be expelled from membership of the association in accordance with the provisions of Clause 3.5.06(e) hereof.

 

 

 

3.10.00 – Appeal Board

 

3.10.01 The Board of Directors shall establish an Appeal Board which shall consist of persons to be nominated by the Board of Directors from time to time as it may be necessary. The Appeal Board shall comprise of the following persons:-

 

(a)           a person having no financial interest in or business connection with the travel industry;

 

(b)           member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators having experience in dealing

with disputes within the travel industry;

 

(c)           the Chief Executive;

 

(d)           the Association’s legal adviser; and

 

(e)           a solicitor or barrister of not less than ten years standing.

 

3.10.02 Any person desirous of appealing against any decision under the rights in that behalf contained in these Bye-Laws shall. Within fourteen days after notification to him of the decision appealed against, give notice of appeal in writing to the Chief Executive.

 

3.10.03 On receipt of such notice as aforesaid, together with payment of such fee as the Board of Directors may from time to time prescribe, the Chief Executive shall convene a meeting of the Appeal Board to hear such appeal.

 

3.10.04 The Chief Executive shall give the appellant and the body whose decision is appealed against not less than fourteen days’ notice of the time and place of meeting the Appeal Board, and shall in such notice inform the appellant that he may attend and make representations to the Appeal Board. Representatives of the body whose decision is appealed against and such other persons as the Appeal Board may also attend the meeting of the Appeal Board and make representations.

 

3.10.05  (a)           The Appeal Board shall, after hearing  such representations as may be made to it, determine the appeal by exercising the powers of the body whose decision is appealed against in such manner as in its discretion it thinks fit and shall notify the parties in writing of its decision.

 

(b)           In making any such determination the Appeal Board shall regard the interests of the consumer in relation to the travel arrangements concerned as the paramount consideration.

 

3.10.06 The Appeal Board shall regulate its proceedings as it shall from time t time determine with a view to dealing with all appeals promptly and judicially.

 



APPENDIX A

 

REGIONS

 

 

 

REGION 1                                           REGION 2                                           REGION 3

 

Co. Donegal                                         Co. Louth                                             Co. Westmeath

Co. Sligo                                               Co. Monaghan                                    Co. Longford

Co. Leitrim                                          Co. Cavan                                             Ballinasloe

North Co. Roscommon                   Co. Meath                                             Birr

(Boyle)                                                 (excluding)                                           Portlaoise

                                                                -Dunboyne                                            Portarlington

                                                                -Ashbourne                                          Edenderry/Tullamore

                                                                -Enfield                                                  Roscrea

                                                               – Dunshaughlin                                                                                                                                                                                   

               

 

 

REGION 4                                           REGION 5                                           REGION 6

 

Co. Mayo                                              Arklow                                            All D/South Agents

Co. Galway                                          Co. Wexford                                  Wicklow Town

Co. Roscommon                               Co. Waterford                               Bray

(excluding)                                         Carrick-on-suir                            Co. Kildare

-Boyle                                                    Clonmel                                          All D/North Agents

                                                                 Carlow                                             Balbriggan

                                                                 Kilkenny

 

 

 

REGION 7                                           REGION 8                                           REGION 9                          

 

Co. Cork                                               Co. Kerry                                             Co. Clare

                                                                Bantry                                                   Co. Limerick

                                                                Millstreet                                             Nenagh

                                                                                                                                Tipperary Town

                                                                                                                                Cahir

                                                                                                                                Cashel

                                                                                                                                Thurles

 

 

Author Information

Travel Agent: ITAA