From the publisher
By Bruce Piper
Just as this issue of travelBulletin goes to press, Helloworld Travel has dropped its bombshell announcement about the departure of group general manager — partnerships Mike Thompson.
The highly respected Thompson, who as well as being an integral part of the Helloworld Travel business and its forbears for 20-plus years, has also played a key role in leading the industry as AFTA chairman for more than a decade.
Ever courteous and self-effacing, Thompson played a key role in retaining the loyalty of many agents in the former Travelscene American Express group through the ructions of its various acquisitions by S8, MFS and then Stella Travel Group and more recently the mergers with Qantas Holidays and the AOT Group.
He was also one of the founding trustees of the Travel Compensation Fund, and had a longstanding relationship with American Express, initially as an employee for 14 years and then through the merger of Travelscene and the then Amex agency network.
Thompson has represented the industry on a wide number of panels and boards, including at an international level with IATA, and during his time with Helloworld/Jetset Travelworld/Travelscene hosted conferences to as far flung destinations as Buenos Aires, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Santa Monica and even Sun City, South Africa.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with many of the best, and have thoroughly enjoyed developing the team, relationships with commercial partners and perhaps most importantly helping our members grow and develop their respective businesses,” he told travelBulletin.
Less well known is Thompson’s passion for classical music and theatre, which has manifested itself in generous philanthropic support for such organisations as the Sydney Youth Orchestra, the Brandenburg Orchestra and Australian Chamber Orchestra as well as the Bell Shakespeare Company, Belvoir Theatre and the Sydney Dance and Bangarra Dance Company.
Thompson said he now intends to take a good break in Perth for Christmas with family and friends, possibly followed by an extended trip to Europe before “looking at what, if anything, is on offer”.
travelBulletin joins with the rest of the industry in paying tribute to Thompson, who is truly one of the gentlemen of travel.