RICHARD Taylor, the respected industry commentator and connector whose Travel Community Hub proved a lifeline for many during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been appointed as the new Director of Membership Experience at the Australian Federation of Travel Agents.
Taylor’s newly created role is the outcome of a comprehensive review of “what AFTA achieved through COVID and what it needs to be in the future to continue to be the peak body for the Australian travel sector,” according to AFTA CEO Dean Long.
“Central to this review was ensuring the AFTA team had the right individuals that the industry respected and importantly enjoys working with,” he said.
“Richard has been a tireless champion of the travel sector throughout COVID, and his ability to bring people together and build communities is remarkable. He’s always been frank in sharing his insights and feedback on what AFTA has done well and, just as importantly, what we can do better,” Long added.
The move is part of a range of initiatives believed to be in the works at AFTA, including a new online platform which will launch shortly. The organisation is aiming to improve its member offering and deliver from all members, all the way from small independent operators through to publicly listed entities. Long said Taylor would have responsibility for “introducing new programs which address the challenges in a post COVID world, as well as new networking opportunities”.
The AFTA CEO also highlighted recent considerable work involved in updating the Federation’s Constitution and membership framework, with details expected to be forthcoming in the coming months.
Taylor said he was thrilled to be taking on the role, which he will initially do part time while also continuing the work of the Travel Community Hub. “I am passionate about the future of our industry, and the opportunity to join AFTA and shape the future of our industry body is too good to pass up. I will continue to do what I love which is talking to agents and all the other wonderful people who make up the travel ecosystem as I work with Dean and the team on AFTA’s evolution, growth and future success,” he said.