By BRUCE Piper
AS 2020 draws to a close, I think it’s appropriate to reflect on some unsung heroes of the year that we all want to forget.
The industry has naturally gone into panic mode as businesses scramble to minimise their losses, many tough decisions have had to be made and we can all be forgiven for being focused on saving our own skins.
But some have also gone above and beyond, stepping up to help support the wider sector despite their own personal COVID-19 challenges.
One of these is Richard Taylor from The Travel Industry Hub, who with unfortunate timing launched his sparkling new co-working space in mid-March, after he and co-founder Luke Crawford had spent months bringing to life their vision of a unique way for the industry to work together.
As the world collapsed around us, Richard launched an ongoing series of webinars which have through the year provided solace, inspiration and information for thousands of travel and tourism people — all at no cost, and with no thought other than to help out his industry colleagues.
Another quiet achiever is Liz Ellis from Cherrybrook Travel in NSW, who has without any acknowledgement whatsoever been working on behalf of the thousands of agents who were hit by the failure of Excite Holidays at the start of 2020.
Ellis stepped up at the Excite creditor’s meeting back in February, joining the formal Committee of Inspection overseeing the company’s KPMG Administration process.
Completely behind the scenes she has been a key figure explaining the nuances of how the travel industry works to the accountants and lawyers involved, and in the process has managed to extract a significantly better outcome than would have otherwise been achieved.
Her dogged pursuit of key issues has ultimately brought Expedia and American Express to the table to create a special refund process for some Excite bookings, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars back into agent and client pockets.
Richard and Liz, we salute you — you are both living proof of the goodwill and passion that are hallmarks of travel industry people.