Zero discounting puts travel agencies on even keel

The implementation of zero discounting policy has put Oman's travel agencies back on an even keel, says an industry panel.

The Travel Agents Committee said the zero discount policy launched last year had helped travel agents recover from the crisis days of heavy price cuts offered to lure travellers, local media reported.

"The industry was in a very bad shape due to heavy discounting followed by various agencies. In fact, the zero discount policy has helped travel agents to recover from the bad days," said Oman Travel Agents Committee chairman Ashraf Moosa Jawad.

"The formation of Travel Agents Committee is good for Omanisation policy and the tourism promotion efforts of the government."

Travel agents get a seven per cent commission from airlines under IATA norms.

Jawad also said a feeling among customers that travel agents were responsible for the high fares in some sectors, especially the Indian sector, is not true.

"We get seven per cent commission from the airlines and it is our sole source of income to cover our cost of operation. There are seventy-two travel agents in Oman and the number was going up till we implemented zero discounting policy," said Jawad who heads Ulrich Travels.

"People used to open small agencies in the interior and offer heavy discounts to the customers from the seven per cent commission offered by airlines.

"Due to zero discount, all agents are doing profitable business."