AFTA View – November 2012

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Jason WestburyHere’s hoping Consumer Affairs Ministers
have the courage to embrace reform

By Jay Westbury, chief executive Australian Federation
of Travel Agents


THE long, long, long wait for an outcome on the review of consumer protection should be known on December 7 and by the time you are actually reading this, we may well know the outcome.

My hope is that the good Ministers after all this time and all the reports and all the submissions and all the meetings will if nothing else “make a decision” so that the travel industry can regain certainty about how we are to be regulated.

The Travel Industry Transition Plan, Consultation Draft has received considerable press and in light of the latest collapse of Classic International Cruises all the policy arguments still apply. I strongly believe that the state Ministers acknowledge that the burden outweighs the benefit when it comes to the application of the TCF on travel agents across Australia.

What remains to be seen is if they have the courage to do what is in the best interest of the industry and set us on a course of reform. I have everything crossed.

• On a positive note for the travel industry I am really excited by the refreshed plans for the AFTA National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA).

This awards program has grown to be a significant event for the industry and I am really happy with the support it receives from across the travel agencies, staff and of course suppliers and sponsors.

We will be taking NTIA to the “next level”. You may have spotted the new logo: this is to represent the global nature of the travel industry and provide a value-add to winners in their marketing.

Additional categories will allow some new shining lights to be identified as “Best Manager Retail” and “Best Manager Corporate”. No doubt they will be hotly contested.

Further we will be providing an award for the smaller niche wholesalers who play an important role in the industry by finding special and exclusive product and putting it together to make it easy to book.

All three new categories will be judged and I am sure will take their place firmly on the NTIA awards agenda.

We are also moving the event to a much bigger venue as in the past we have had so many unhappy people on a waitlist, I hope that all who want to will now get a seat.

The much-enjoyed after party will now be in a venue that allows everyone who attends the gala dinner an opportunity to “party” with their industry colleagues. All in all, I hope NTIA will be bigger and better than we have managed in the past.

This is an exciting time for our industry with a consistently high Australian dollar and improving consumer confidence foreshadowing a good year ahead. NTIA will be there to underpin this excitement and allow the industry to come together and celebrate our joint success.

The awards are set for Saturday, July 20, 2013 and once again travelBulletin will be at the forefront as an important media partner for the event.

I hope that everyone gets behind the 2013 program and enjoys the excitement as it builds.

Jay Westbury’s AFTA View column appears monthly.