CATO view: November 2021

BRETT Jardine, Managing Director,

BRETT Jardine, Managing Director, Council of Australian Tour Operators

THE past 18 months have been enormously challenging for our industry, however, it has provided the opportunity to review the way we operate as an industry and in our businesses, reflect on areas requiring improvement and look at ways to create a more sustainable land-supply sector of our industry.

In July we announced the development of a fit-for-purpose CATO accreditation system for the land supply sector of the Australian travel industry, which will be underpinned by industry standard booking terms and conditions for members. Our members are committed to CATO’s member code of conduct, and we are committed to finding a potential insurance solution that will deliver reassurance to all that work with our members.

In addition, CATO has spent considerable time liaising with departments that will be influential post-COVID, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT).

Last month we finalised a project with Tourism Research Australia (TRA) with our collaborative efforts now able to formally quantify how significant outbound leisure travel is – contributing over $12 billion to the Australian economy and we continue to educate government on this significant point.

CATO has not let up on extensive discussions with the Federal Government over the last month. Meetings with the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison’s office and Minister for Tourism, Dan Tehan’s office, is keeping pressure on the government, as the national approach to opening borders becomes clearer.

Key to our messaging is the ‘cash-lag’ that exists between consumer booking and availed travel when we are able to recognise revenue and the need for ongoing support to assist with re-employment and training of staff. CATO’s efforts in supporting its members and the land-supply sector will deliver direct benefit to its travel agent distribution partners.

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