CATO View – July 2011

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Peter BaileyNTIA wins underline quality of wholesalers and importance of agency relationships

THE recent Council of Australian Tour Operator’s (CATO) AGM and dinner held in Sydney was a most successful evening and was well supported with 80 members and guests attending the dinner.

At the AGM Rod Eather (Beachcomber Tours in Brisbane) was re elected as the chairman. Michael Hay (Chat Tours, Sydney) and Trevor Fernandes (Wildlife Safaris, Perth) were elected as joint vice chairmen and the other committee members include John Morley (Kirra Tours, Adelaide), Leo Adams (Holidays onLocation, Melbourne), Greg McCallum (Rail Plus, Melbourne) and John Polyviou (Sun Island Tours, Sydney).

The annual accounts were presented and showed a surplus of $5080 for the year with accumulated reserves being increased to $36,000. The membership levels also rose to 99.

An increase in membership levels during a year of cut backs and the general hardships faced by the industry was indeed a pleasing result.

Members obviously recognise the value of being involved with an association like CATO, with the excellent networking opportunities and representation that it offers in these ever changing times in the travel industry.

Those of you who are interested in joining CATO would be most welcome to contact me direct to get further details pahbaily@bigpond.net.au.

Congratulations to the CATO members who won the major tour operator and wholesaler awards at the recent NTIA awards held in Sydney: Best Tour Operator International – Insight Vacations; Best Tour Operator Domestic – AAT Kings; Best Wholesaler International – Creative Holidays; Best Wholesaler Domestic – Qantas Holidays.

These results endorse and recognise the value the industry, in particular the travel agents, place on the quality of service provided by CATO members.

This brings me to the recent publicity given to a story of an agent frustrated by a perceived growing trend of poor wholesaler support.

I would like to point out that the wholesaler in question was not a member of CATO and I do believe it was an isolated case and does not generalise the service offered by the wholesaler.

Our members value the relationships they have with the retail travel agent and they have spent – and continue to spend – a lot of time and money in educating and supporting the agents.

The travel agent is still the primary distribution channel between the wholesaler and the consumer.

The only way the clients can be assured they are offered the best service, product and knowledge for their holiday is to book with an Australian licensed agent who deals with a licensed CATO wholesaler.

The survival strategy of offering premium product and service to the travel industry will only be possible if bookings are made through this model.

The next CATO meeting is to be held in Melbourne on Wednesday, October 15.

Peter Baily’s CATO View column appears quarterly.

 

 

   

 

 

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