CATO View – Nov/Dec 2013

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Peter BaileyPrelude to a new era: 2013 was a significant
year for the travel industry

Peter Baily, general manager,
Council of Australian Tour Operators


THE past year historically will go down as a most significant one for our industry. It was a year that saw economic forecasters predicting global tourism will be one of the fastest growing industry sectors over the next 20 years. Projections indicate a growth rate of in excess of 10 per cent of the Global Gross Domestic Product (GGDP).

It was the year in which the Government agreed to the implementation of the Travel Industry Transition Plan and the move towards the disbanding of the TCF and the current travel industry licensing system, allowing self regulation for our industry.

CATO has worked closely with, and fully supports, AFTA and the work it has done towards the implementation of the new AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS) due to be implemented in mid 2014.

We urge all other industry bodies to join this support. To maximise the potential of these opportunities we need a united industry working together to ensure we all benefit.

CATO has been positioning itself to be ready for these changes that will be taking place under the new industry-led self-regulation. We have been active members of the industry working committee formed to set up ATAS. Our members are involved in insurance trials for the new Third Party Supplier Insolvency and Travel Intermediary Business Insolvency Protection Insurance, which will be a critical part of the new accreditation scheme.

In other developments during the year:
• We have fully integrated tourist offices into our membership: Sarah Anderson has taken a role on our committee to represent their interests.
• We have strengthened our committee: with the inclusion of Dennis Bunnik of Bunnik Tours and Janette Davie of Pinpoint Tours; their expertise in our industry will add great value to the committee.
• We have launched a new website, reinforcing the importance of the role of CATO members to travel agents and the travelling public. 
• We have introduced a new CATO logo The CATO Advantage – Integrity and Commitment along with collateral promoting the ease of booking, focus on service, experience, trust and 24/7 support offered by CATO members.
• We have joined in partnership with ATEC and AFTA in the Workforce Futures Program, the government funded scheme which aids in the development of our workforce.

Looking to the future, we are excited by the move to self-regulation and want to ensure for agents and their clients that with the changes comes a better, more competitive way of doing business allowing a more level playing field for all.

It will be up to individual agents and wholesalers to seek accreditation, undertake the insurances required according to the risk their business may have, and most of all to ensure that they publicise and promote ATAS and the associated insurances.

In the new era we are entering it is important that CATO maintains its relevance and travel agents and the public remain confident and reassured that their travel arrangements are best looked after when dealing with accredited, trusted CATO members.

We will be seeking more input and involvement from our members to ensure this relevance is maintained.


Peter Baily’s CATO View column appears quarterly.