Airline tickets: Van Schalkwyk calls for probe

{ Posted on Aug 12 2013 by B-man }
Categories : Travel news

The Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, has called for an end to the culture of non-transparency in the cost of airline tickets.

“The public, South African travellers and foreign tourists have a right to know how the price of an airline ticket is made up, and what they are paying for. I am concerned about the impact of air travel cost on the South African tourism industry, as it significantly influences travel choices.

“As a government, we are taking a number of steps to grow the South African tourism industry, and expand its job creation potential. I consider the lack of transparency in airline pricing structures a barrier to our goals,” the minister said.

“In order to increase the South African tourism industry’s contribution to economic growth even further, we must facilitate travel rather than levy hidden taxes. Members of the public have a right to know what they are paying for. This matter has been brought to the fore as a result of questions about airline ticket prices during the World Cup later this year, but it is also vital that we investigate it in the context of our tourism industry’s long-term sustainability and growth.

“Furthermore, not only is transparency in the public interest, but it is also about good governance. It is time for our government to get to the bottom of the amorphous taxes, fees and levies that are being charged on airline tickets,” Van Schalkwyk said.

The minister said he had noted that a lack of transparency in the advertising and quoting of airfares, combined with inconsistent policies regarding cancelled tickets, make it very difficult for consumers to compare flight prices.

This had a direct and negative impact on South Africa’s competitiveness as a tourism destination, and inhibited the growth of tourism demand, which in turn constrained foreign exchange earnings potential and the overall growth of the tourism sector.

“We should investigate airline pricing structures and the range of surcharges levied, in order to determine the transparency with which ticket prices are quoted, and whether any unfair practices are taking place. I would like to call on the relevant role players in the industry to assist and give us their input,” the minister said.

“The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Rob Davies, shares the tourism industry’s concerns about this matter, and we agree that current airline pricing practices and policies may be in breach of the Consumer Protection Act.

“This matter is being considered as part of the industrial policy action plan (IPAP), and Minister Davies will be making further announcements in this regard within the next two weeks,” Van Schalkwyk said.

Related posts

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.