TOM Manwaring, Interim Executive Chair, Australian Federation of Travel Agents
One of the hardest things to achieve in the midst of a crisis is finding and taking the time to think and to plan.
When you are so focussed on survival, time out to think can seem an indulgence.
There’s no doubt that the way we all operate needs to keep changing as we move towards a fee-for-service model. As you will have read in this month’s cover story, the need to drive change to embrace a base of positive income, rather than a majority reliance on commission, will continue to grow.
We know that consumers are going to be relying on travel agents even more heavily in the future due to COVID-19. Even with domestic travel, state and territory shutdowns have highlighted the value of travel agent to consumers as they try to make sense of it all.
This, of course, will become even more of a focus once international travel opens up again. The need for confidence in vaccinations and a “be ready to travel” mantra for our customers becomes a common goal across the agency landscape.
AFTA and the AFTA Board has always allocated time to strategise and to imagine what the future might be and how we might be able together to shape it for the benefit of all members.
AFTA has also always relied on and celebrated the power of collaboration. These times, like no other, have showcased the critical importance of pooling resources, ideas and networks for impact. An additional $130 million has been directed our sector’s way, shared with ATEC and CATO as part of the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program bringing the total to $258 million. The significance of this achievement should not be underestimated.
We continue to work closely with CATO, CLIA, and ATEC as well as TTF, ACCI, BCA and other industry representative groups. We continue to work with, support and be inspired by our members.
We continue to fight for ongoing support. We’re not underestimating the challenges ahead, but we do know that together we are stronger.