The International Air Transport Association (IATA) launched the IATA Travel Centre at www.iatatravelcentre.com.
The IATA Travel Centre provides passport, visa and health information necessary for air travellers. “This responds to the consumer demand for self-service by giving travellers easy access to helpful and accurate information about the essentials of travel—from what documents are required to what taxed must be paid,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
At the time of booking, The IATA Travel Centre provides tailored information by itinerary on passport, visa and health requirements, as well as taxes at arriving and departing airports and consumer and currency regulations. The service is offered free of charge to individual travellers. Links to The IATA Travel Centre can be included on booking sites and in e-mail travel confirmations.
Travellers are responsible for having correct documentation with them. While most documentation problems are discovered at check-in, every year an estimated 35,000 travellers are turned back at destination or transfer points by immigration authorities due to improper documentation. The average fine for every passenger arriving or transiting without proper documentation is US$5,000. When combined with associated manpower costs, the annual expense to the industry is over US$200 million.
The Travel Centre builds on 40 years of expertise in providing travel documentation advice to airlines, travel agencies and passengers. It is based upon an enhanced version of IATA’s TIM/Timatic service which monitors and automatically updates passengers of changing regulatory requirements that will impact their travel plans. There are about 14,000 such changes recorded in the Timatic database each year.
“The Travel Centre is the first of a number of initiatives IATA is driving to help the industry to improve service while reducing these costs,” said Bisignani.