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Industry resources, Tourism NT, Northern Territory, Australia

Tourism accreditation

Tourism NT’s Accreditation Policy

From 1 January 2015, Tourism NT will change its mandatory accreditation policy to a recognised treatment arrangement, meaning that accredited operators will receive recognition, but all operators will have the opportunity to be involved in Tourism NT’s marketing and other activities.  

Tourism NT will cease to administer the ATAP-NT program on 31 December 2014 and ATAP Ltd will take over this responsibility. The new arrangements will not take effect until 1 January 2015, giving ATAP nationally time to appoint an NT coordinator. 

ATAP Ltd has advised it will extend complimentary accreditation from 1 January 2015 for the remainder of 2014/15 financial year. This extension will bring NT accreditation into the financial year cycle used nationally and assist transition for NT businesses. 

By no longer making accreditation a mandatory requirement, we are reducing red tape in line with the NT Government’s direction and with contemporary market practices and behaviour. The NT Government does not provide funding or support to any other accreditation programs.

Under the new policy, NT tourism operators that are accredited will receive the following recognition from Tourism NT: -

  • Operator listings on travelnt.com and other Tourism NT owned sites will recognise accreditation through featuring the relevant program logo
  • Inclusion of the relevant logo for operators that participate in Tourism NT led marketing activities
  • Advance notice of Tourism NT led cooperative marketing participation opportunities.

Frequently asked questions

Scroll down for a list of frequently asked questions or click here for a pdf.

1. What is happening? 
2. Why?
3. When?
4. Why has that date been chosen?
5. Why did Tourism NT take on management of the program in the first place? 
6. What did Tourism NT actually do to manage this accreditation? 
7. How many operators have ATAP-NT accreditation? 
8. What does the change in policy mean for the existing accredited ATAP businesses? 
9. What do you mean by recognising operators that are accredited? 
10. Have you abandoned businesses which have registered for ATAP but not yet achieved full accreditation? 
11. What is the benefit of accreditation? 
12. Doesn’t your change of policy constitute a backflip, or at the very least devalue accreditation? 
13. What accreditation bodies does Tourism NT recognise? 
14. Does Tourism NT have an involvement in any of these bodies besides ATAP? 
15. Will operators still be able to display the logo of the body with which they are accredited? 
16. I am currently accredited with ATAP – how do I continue with my accreditation? 
17. I have accreditation with another body – what change is there for my business? 
18. If I need support  with achieving any elements of accreditation, who can I go to?

 

1. What is happening? 

The Board of Tourism NT has decided that, with effect from 1 January 2015, Tourism NT will change its mandatory accreditation policy to one that recognises operators that are accredited, consequently affording all operators an opportunity to be involved in Tourism NT’s marketing and other activities.  Tourism NT will cease to administer the ATAP-NT program on 31 December 2014.

2. Why the change? 

Tourism NT is reducing red tape by no longer making accreditation a mandatory requirement. This is in line with the NT Government’s direction and contemporary market practices and behaviour, and brings us into alignment with all jurisdictions other than WA. Accreditation is an industry led program which is managed in other states by Tourism Industry Councils.

  • In 2004, the NT chapter of TIC was disbanded by its host organisation, the NT Chamber of Commerce. Tourism NT (then known as the Northern Territory Tourism Commission) assumed responsibility for administering the ATAP program in the NT (ATAP-NT) despite it being a responsibility that did not fit the charter of the agency. 
  • At that time the then Northern Territory Tourist Commission policy was one of support for accreditation as a mechanism for business improvement and improved product delivery by the Territory’s tourism industry.
  • Importantly at that time, it was also identified as a means whereby the visitor could make decisions on product choice based on confidence that the program stood for best practice. 
  • Since then, and primarily through the advent of tools such as TripAdvisor, the market is able to obtain much more market driven information on which to base their purchasing decisions and get a clear insight of the attributes of a particular product.
  • So we are changing our policy, reducing red tape, allowing market forces to do their work, maintaining our focus as a marketing organisation and discarding legacy activities that are more appropriate to be carried out by another body.

Ultimately this is a business decision for any operator considering accreditation via ATAP or other programs to improve their business and obtain a potential competitive advantage. The cost of inclusion in an accreditation program should reflect that and also cover the costs of administration of the program. It is inappropriate for Government to underwrite costs for businesses that elect to invest in accreditation.

There is a correlation between accreditation and quality of products and services; also, social media is playing an increased role in determining quality via consumer comments on TripAdvisor, Booking.com etc.

3. When is this happening?

Management of ATAP-NT will end on 31 December 2014. The new accreditation approach (i.e. recognition of accredited operators) will come into effect  on 1 January 2015. ATAP Ltd has advised it will extend complimentary accreditation from 1 January 2015 for the remainder of 2014/15 financial year. This extension will bring NT accreditation into the financial year cycle used nationally and assist transition for NT businesses.

4. Why has that date been chosen?

The Board decided on that date in order to give ATAP time to establish an alternative arrangement. We offered our support by means of background information including financials, database, key contacts for future management and site inspections, trends regarding membership renewal and dropout rates, collateral, geographical locations and advice on servicing these clients.

5. Why did Tourism NT take on management of the program in the first place? 

Because at the time there was nobody else to do it. What should have been an interim arrangement when it was put into place in 2004 has actually continued for 10 years. What happened was that the Chamber of Commerce established the Tourism Council NT (TCNT) to manage and administer the ATAP program in the NT: ATAP-NT. We funded it with the then Department of Industry and Business.

Three years later, TCNT was dissolved by the Chamber and we took over its ATAP-NT responsibilities on behalf of industry because at the time there was no suitable industry organisation to do so. Now we are handing back that responsibility to industry.  

6. What did Tourism NT actually do to manage this accreditation?

The regulatory functions required for accreditation fall within the remit of other government agencies, which carry out the inspections or testing as necessary e.g. for certification and licences to operate. By no longer checking to see that operators have those, we avoid duplication and reduce a layer of red tape for business in line with the NT Government’s direction.

7. How many operators have ATAP-NT accreditation?

There are 251 operators with ATAP-NT accreditation.

8. What does the change in policy mean for the existing accredited ATAP businesses?

An alternative arrangement is being put in place by ATAP Ltd. Our change in policy will have an effect upon all businesses in that we are affording all operators an opportunity to be involved in Tourism NT’s marketing and other activities.

9. What do you mean by recognising operators that are accredited?

Tourism operators that are accredited will receive the following recognition from Tourism NT: 
  • Operator listings on travelnt.com and other Tourism NT owned sites will recognise accreditation through featuring the relevant program logo
  • Inclusion of the relevant logo for operators that participate in Tourism NT led marketing activities
  • Advance notice of Tourism NT led cooperative marketing participation opportunities

10. Have you abandoned businesses which have registered for ATAP but not yet achieved full accreditation?

The accreditation process varies in time and priority for operators and Tourism NT and ATAP are both committed to working with the individual companies to ensure a smooth transition. 

11. What is the benefit of accreditation?  

Ultimately this is a business decision for any operator considering accreditation via ATAP or other programs to improve their business and obtain a potential competitive advantage. Tourism NT will recognise tourism operators that are accredited. 

Accreditation encourages good business practices which many believe has a correlation with quality. However, it has not stopped rogue operators including those going bust, leaving customers stranded and owing money to creditors. 

Social media is playing an increased role in determining quality via consumer comments on TripAdvisor, Booking.com etc. Operators who do not have good business practices, including customer complaints handling, need to beware of the potential impact on their business through negative consumer reviews on social media.

12. Doesn’t your change of policy constitute a backflip, or at the very least devalue accreditation? 

Government is simply responding to the contemporary market environment and changed consumer behaviour. The change in policy brings us into alignment with all jurisdictions other than WA. We are reducing red tape by no longer making accreditation a mandatory requirement, in line with NT Government direction and contemporary market practices and behaviour. Ultimately, this is a business decision for any operator considering accreditation to improve their business and obtain a potential competitive advantage.

13. What accreditation bodies does Tourism NT recognise?

  • ATAP
  • ROC (Respecting our Culture)
  • CRVA Caravan, RV and Accommodation Industry of Australia
  • ECO (Eco certification)
  • STAR  Rating 
  • Or a higher standard like ISO
14. Does Tourism NT have an involvement in any of these bodies besides ATAP?

No. 

15. Will operators still be able to display the logo of the body with which they are accredited? 

Yes.

16. I am currently accredited with ATAP – how do I continue with my accreditation?

Your current ATAP NT expires on 31 December 2014. However, to ensure a seamless transition, ATAP Ltd will extend complimentary accreditation from 1 January 2015 for the remainder of 2014/15 financial year. This extension will bring NT accreditation into the financial year cycle used nationally and assist transition for NT businesses.

17. I have accreditation with another body – what change is there for my business?

Our change in policy will have an effect upon all businesses in that we are affording all operators an opportunity to be involved in Tourism NT’s marketing and other activities. 

18. If I need support  with achieving any elements of accreditation, who can I go to?

The Department of Business provides a suite of support programs and services, including the Business Growth program. Support is tailored to develop sound and sustainable business practices that complement accreditation principles and is available for tourism enterprises.

What is accreditation? 

Accreditation provides consumers and the industry with an assurance that a tourism operator is committed to quality business practices and professionalism. It promotes a national minimum standard of operations to be met by tourism operators and businesses, and gives consumers the opportunity to make an informed and confident choice about the legitimacy and quality of a tourism product.

Accreditation programs

Australian Tourism Accreditation Program - www.atap.net.au 
Ecotourism Certification Program and Respect our Culture (ROC) - www.ecotourism.org.au 
Caravan Industry Australia National Accreditation program - www.crva.com.au

Star Rating - https://www.aaatourism.com.au/about-star-ratings/about-star/

About the Australian Tourism Accreditation Program

The Australian Tourism Accreditation Program focuses on developing professional management systems that will lead to reliability, consistency and predictability in the operation of the business, which in turn results in improved customer service and satisfaction. The program addresses many of the issues that are covered in the development of a business plan but also focuses on those key elements that are part of the day-to-day function of any tourism operation.

Australian Tourism Accreditation Program (ATAP) Online

If you would like to register for the ATAP Online Accreditation Program, please send an email with your contact details to accreditation.tourismnt@nt.gov.au to receive an Information Kit and your User ID and password.

An online demonstration of the Australian Tourism Accreditation Program is also available.








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Accredited businesses

Congratulations to the following businesses that have achieved Tourism Accreditation:

Tourism Accredited Businesses as at 30 September 2014

For more information

Tourism Accreditation
E: accreditation.tourismnt@nt.gov.au
P: 61 8 8999 3808