CATO View – June 2013

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Peter BaileyCATO’s integrity and commitment pledge
more relevant as ATAS looms

THE Council of Australian Tour Operator’s (CATO) recently held its AGM and dinner in Sydney with Rod Eather (Beachcomber Tours) re- elected as chairman.

Other committee members re-elected were vice chairman Trevor Fernandes (Wildlife Safaris) from Perth, Greg McCallum (Rail Plus) and Anne-Marie Mitchell (GET Educational Tours), both from Melbourne and Sarah Anderson (GTI Tourism) from Sydney. New committee members are Janette Davie (Pinpoint Travel) from Sydney and Dennis Bunnik (Bunnik Tours) from Adelaide.

Eather addressed members outlining a number of new initiatives emphasising the importance of the role of CATO members to travel agents and the travelling public. 

A new CATO logo featuring the tag line The CATO Advantage – Integrity and Commitment was unveiled along with collateral promoting the ease of booking, focus on service, experience, trust and 24/7 support offered by CATO members.

With the transition from the government-run TCF and licensing regulations to the self-regulated Australian Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS) it is extremely important that agents and the public remain confident and reassured that their travel arrangements are best looked after when dealing with accredited, trusted CATO members.

Members were updated on the framework of the new ATAS with a planned national roadshow scheduled for August to discuss nine draft criteria for accreditation. Participation will be optional but it is envisaged all existing TCF members will be admitted to the new scheme under a grandfather clause.

Negotiations are under way with insurance companies to have available for participants a voluntary Third Party Supplier Insolvency and Travel Intermediary Business Insolvency Protection insurance.

The timeline to the transition starting with the draft framework being signed off by the AFTA board in early June will be followed by meetings with Consumer Affairs Ministers in July and a national roadshow to unveil final details to the travel industry planned for August with transition workshops in October and December with implementation set for July 2014.

• It was also announced that CATO has joined in partnership with ATEC and AFTA in the Workforce Futures Program.

The Government funded scheme provides participating businesses a face-to-face business diagnostic assessment. The aim is to develop, in collaboration with business owners a work force development plan focusing on the capability and capacity of its human capital.

CATO members can now apply to participate in the scheme fully funded and free of charge.

The Workforce Futures scheme involves industry skills advisors visit-ing each participating business for 17.5 hours of the advisors time – 7.5 hours for the first engagement and 10 hours over a six month period.

A diagnostic system tool will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the company’s work force and highlight any appropriate training requirements.

More than 160 businesses have been signed up in the first three months of the program. These include CATO members The Travel Corporation, APT, Driveaway Holidays and Global Cars.

The next CATO meeting is to be held in Brisbane on Wednesday, September 4. For further details and bookings for the meeting please contact

CATO View appears quarterly.