AFTA View – August 2013

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Jason WestburyA million Twitter impressions: NTIA 2013
attracts amazing social media response

By Jay Westbury, chief executive Australian Federation
of Travel Agents


AS I am sure you will see from the coverage by travelBulletin, this year’s National Travel Industry Awards were an enormous success and extremely well received by the entire Australian travel industry.

So much so that on the night the #NTIA13 was the lead trending item on Twitter and we achieved a million impressions.

This is an amazing result for the travel industry and shows that people are interested in what the travel industry is doing both within the industry and more broadly across the Twitter community.
AFTA’s maiden voyage into social media has been a great big success and I am confident that we can build on this success with our @AFTAOfficial Twitter account.

All of this becomes ever more important as we start to move towards the new accreditation scheme and have a conversation with consumers about why they should be ensuring they are using an AFTA Accredited Travel Agent.

So well done to all involved and for those that took part thank you for making NTIA 2013 such a great success. We will build on this success and make 2014 even bigger.

• The federal election campaign is now under way. What is important for the travel industry is that the story about an election provides consumers with some certainty and this should mean that confidence returns.

I honestly think most Australians are so on the fence about who should win that the outcome has become less important than the actual event and process.

For travel we just need a new story a positive story and one that drives consumers and businesses to feel confident about the future.

As this election swirls around us – and it was not our plan by the way – AFTA has been rolling out our national roadshow talking to members and industry players about the criteria and plans for the new accreditation scheme.

I have attended some of the workshops and been involved personally in many of the discussions and it is fantastic that so many are getting involved and providing their opinions and views about what is on the table.

This will ensure that we have the feedback and the thoughts from everyone on the ground running a travel business and include as much of the feedback as we can into the final version of the accreditation scheme.

To cap this off, I am also really pleased with the outcome of the recent visit by Paul McLean of the insurance company International Passenger Protection (IPP), who visited during August to immerse himself in the Australian travel industry.

I am now ever more confident that IPP and its insurance partners will be able to deliver cost effective and fit-for-purpose insurance coverage for Australian travel agents and of course consumers.

There is still work to be done as the market is assessed and we finalise the detail, but I can assure everyone that what is being put together will complement the AFTA Accreditation Scheme and deliver on the outcome that AFTA has been pushing for to replace the outdated National Licencing Scheme and transition to the new arrangements which future proof Australian travel agents for many many years to come.

Jay Westbury’s AFTA View column appears monthly.