Jayson Westbury, chief executive of AFTA

JaysonWestburyIt seemed appropriate to add my thoughts to the history of the National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA) which is being celebrated so wonderfully in this issue of travelBulletin.

Without question, the NTIA has become the single biggest event of the Australian travel industry as it brings together everyone from all sectors of the travel industry to celebrate. I am not just talking about the gala dinner; the awards themselves are the real engine room of the success of the NTIAs.

As the industry has changed, so too have the NTIA categories and I am really pleased that AFTA continues to renew, change, update and modernise the awards. Importantly also is the shift that was made several years ago to bring in more “people” categories. Industry awards are often just about companies, and that is why so many of the categories added over the past few years have focused on people.

The judging process is a critical part of the success of the awards, and one important part that AFTA ensures a continuous improvement process is in place. The NTIA has also stood as a mark in time for the industry to celebrate good things, bad things, terrible things, and wonderful things, as over the many years we have had plenty of challenges that the industry has had to face.

The NTIAs acts as a central point in the year upon which the industry can look forward to and reply upon. For all of the years that I have been involved, and that now tips eight, Travel Daily and travelBulletin have been the media partners of NTIA. The commitment that both organisations have made to increase the awareness of NTIA and help to build the event into the success that it now is, is remarkable.

With Travel Daily and travelBulletin now both owned by the Travel Daily Group, the process of building the trade awareness has been seamless and I am excited to see how much further we can all take the NTIAs together; I am sure we can always go bigger and better. Look out for the fresh plans already being conjured up for 2016.

On a final note I wanted just to say thank you to Louise Wallace who is departing travelBulletin and in fact the travel industry this month. Louise joined the industry several years ago and I have found her to be a terrific talent to work with and have enjoyed every minute. When Louise took on the co-ordinating editor’s role for the re-launch of travelBulletin I was sure it would continue to make its mark as a trade publication of authority. Congratulations to Louise and I wish her well and all the best of luck in her new career.