CATO View – December 2010/January 2011

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Peter BaileyWholesalers achieve good results in 2010 but no room for complacency in 2011

THE recent CATO annual Christmas party held in Sydney, attended by 80 members and friends, bade farewell to 2010 in festive style.

On a sad note Simon Hills, due to increased work commitments, resigned from his role as a committee member. Simon for a number of years was chairman and during this time was a great champion for the cause of the wholesaler in Australia.

His frank and honest appraisal of a situation will be missed and we wish Simon all the best for his future and a big thank you from all at CATO.

On a happier note we welcomed back Michael Hay, now with Chat Tours, as a new member to the committee. Michael has a wealth of experience and this together with his enthusiasm will add greatly to the strength of the committee.

It was generally accepted that the past year has been a good one for Australian outbound wholesalers. The strengthening of the Aussie dollar has helped Australians to travel overseas at very affordable prices. The same can’t be said for our counterparts in Europe and the US.

Australia has indeed been the lucky country; however we must not lapse into complacency. Each new year will provide the unexpected and we must be ready and learn from the experiences of those less fortunate than us and ensure our business plans and product mix are continually updated and enhanced.

As the year draws to a close, the Ministerial Council of Consumer Affairs (MCCA), issued a communiqué delaying their consideration of the Pricewaterhouse-Coopers review of consumer protection, in the travel industry. They are seeking final advice from the Standing Committee on Consumer Affairs before their next meeting early in 2011.

In a brief statement they did however recognise that the travel industry has undergone major changes in recent years including technology and in particular the internet.

From CATO’s viewpoint it is a comfort that at least the government now acknowledges that our industry has changed.

Hopefully during the coming year we can work towards getting regulations in place that are more equitable than those currently being used. For years our members have done the right thing and abided by the federal and state legislations. However more and more in recent years our members have had to compete with non licensed companies selling the same product, yet for a variety of inadequacies in the system, these other companies have not had to comply with similar legislation.

Like AFTA we are also after a “level playing field” for our members. Whilst we accept the process will take time and won’t be easy we look forward to working closely with AFTA to try and ensure we get the right result.

• The next meeting of CATO is to be held in Perth on Friday, February 18, 2011. It is to be held on the same weekend as the annual Perth Holiday and Travel Expo. For bookings please contact gina@afta.com.au

Peter Baily’s CATO View column appears quarterly.

 

 

   

 

 

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