Agreement should clear up overseas travel deals

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Agreement should clear up overseas travel deals

Contracts for overseas trips with travel agents will be changed starting next year to make them more clear and easy for consumers to understand.

The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) has signed an agreement on standards for providing overseas travel information with the Korea Consumer Agency (KCA), 12 domestic travel agencies and the Korea Association of Travel Agents (KATA).

Standards for providing?travel information?will be introduced to address the growing number of disputes with travel agencies and consumers at a time when the number of people traveling abroad has been steadily increasing.

The 12 major travel agencies are set to voluntarily introduce the standards, including the implementation of a full page display of key information.

In addition, the KTO, KCA, and the KATA will promote a kind of checklist known as the Consumer Standard to the general public for reference when purchasing travel products.

The travel industry and participating institutions will confirm the final draft of the agreement by the end of December for implementation Jan. 1.

As the number of overseas travelers increased from 13.7 million last year to an estimated 15 million this year, disputes between consumers and travel agencies also have been on the rise.

“Disputes have been growing as the information about travel products offered by travel agencies has been unclear and consumers, who are mainly concentrated on prices, also tend to skip looking at detailed information thoroughly,” said a spokesman for the KCA.

Accordingly, the standard for providing overseas travel information is composed of both industry and consumer standards.

“Providing accurate and detailed information from travel agencies will enhance communication with consumers and reduce disputes significantly,” said the spokesman.

BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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