travelBulletin

A United Industry Delivers the Best Results

CATO held its AGM in Sydney on the 17th of June where we bid farewell to three long serving committee members including the chairman of the past five years, writes Dennis Bunnik.

By Dennis Bunnik, chairman Council of Tour Operators

Dennis BunnikThe opening line of this column is designed just to grab your attention so that you’ll read on. Hopefully it has worked because there was really no way that I could encourage anybody to read an article that contained the words Annual General Meeting in the first line.

CATO held its AGM in Sydney on the 17th of June where we bid farewell to three long serving committee members including the chairman of the past five years, Rod Eather. The other two retiring members were Trevor Fernandes and Sarah Anderson.

Last year CATO started on a journey to redefine its future. This included surveying members on a range of issues, and in August CATO will see the new committee locked away for a day of strategic planning. Sounds riveting doesn’t it!?

So what’s the purpose of it all? The reality is that this industry works best when all three sectors of the industry are strong and united. We need a strong airline sector to open up new destinations and ensure there is plenty of capacity. We need a strong wholesale sector to develop and provide exciting product and holiday experiences. And we need a strong retail sector to bring it all together and connect customers with their dream holiday.

So where does CATO fit into all of this? As the representative body of the wholesale sector we represent the tour operators, wholesalers and national tourist offices that create the product that forms the basis of fantastic holidays. But we need to work harder, and as a sector we need to become stronger to avoid the dream holidays of Australian travellers turning bad.

There are more people travelling than ever before which is a good thing. However in an era of globalisation there is a real risk that the products for sale become as generic as the fruit toast sold in every café in the country. Australian travellers deserve to have the very best holidays experiences there are. To do this we need a constant supply of new and innovative travel product specifically designed for Australian travellers. And that’s where CATO members come in. Our members range from the smallest niche operator to some of the biggest names in travel, but they all have one thing in common: they design holidays for the Australian traveller, and that’s worth supporting.

As a committee we see a very bright future for the wholesale and product sector of the industry and we look forward to working with our colleagues in retail and aviation to keep Australians travelling.

I know you all love a good strategic plan and we’d love your input in developing ours. Send me your ideas and I’ll make sure they are raised during the process.

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