AFTA View – August 2012
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AFTA loses a driving force with the retirement of Peter Lacaze
By Jay Westbury, chief executive Australian Federation
of Travel Agents
THIS month the travel industry will see a significant change in the leadership of Jetset Travelworld Group with Peter Lacaze retiring and Rob Gurney taking over the reins as the company’s chief executive officer.
Since Peter returned to the travel industry as CEO of Stella Travel Services and then went on to create the current company, JTG, he has been a driving force behind AFTA and an incredible supporter of our activities over the past four years or so.
His leadership and candid approach to his dealings on the board of AFTA and indeed with me have contributed greatly to ensuring that AFTA has a clear focus that puts the agency owner at the forefront of policy and decisions.
Peter Lacaze has been an outstanding contributor to the travel agency community and I am sure, like me, everyone in the travel industry will wish him all the very best in his retirement from travel.
As for Rob Gurney he is so well known to me, AFTA board members and indeed the members of AFTA that any input he chooses to make to AFTA will be most welcome.
Given Rob’s experience from many, many years in the travel industry, I am sure that the agency community will welcome this and I look forward to working with him just as AFTA and I have worked with Peter in the past.
We are very lucky to have so many talented and capable people in leadership roles in the various companies that call Australia home.
I firmly believe that the depth of talent among Australia’s dedicated agency owners and travel consultants is well ahead of many other countries.
Our structure and disciplined interaction with suppliers is critical to our ongoing success as an industry. As the globalisation of travel distri-bution continues, I am confident the Australian travel agency community will continue to prosper.
One of our biggest challenges is attracting young people into our industry and building careers.
AFTA continues to work with many of the government agencies to ensure that our workforce development needs are considered equally as important as other sectors.
With unemployment rates so low (a good thing), the continued labour shortages that our industry faces are a growing challenge. I don’t see any quick fix; there are no silver bullets to resolve the problem. What is important – and you can be reassured of this – is that AFTA takes education, careers development and more broadly the development of our workforce very seriously.
We continue to work with the education community on this and of course the recent announcement of the change to the qualification name to that of a Certificate III in Travel is one small but significant step underpinning our commitment to ensure that the travel industry can be a serious “industry of choice” for people thinking about what to do with their lives in the future.
Jay Westbury’s AFTA View column appears monthly.