THE Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) continued its advocacy efforts in the nation’s capital this week, with Board members Dennis Bunnik, Lisa Pagotto and James O’Donnell joining MD Brett Jardine in meetings with MPs and Government departments.
CATO has been working with organisations including Treasury, DFAT, Austrade and Tourism Research Australia (TRA), building on discussions during the pandemic which saw CATO help define the “true value of outbound leisure travel” – more than $12 billion annually – to the Australian economy.
CATO and TRA have committed to a Memorandum of Understanding that will detail a scope of works around a major data analysis project that will commence before the end of 2022.
“This work will provide a credible source of data, necessary to ensure our narrative around the value our members provide Australian consumers, as they explore the world,” CATO said in a statement.
Jardine also noted a further meeting with senior Treasury officials updating them on the state of the outbound land-supply sector, highlighting key areas of concern including air capacity, employment of skilled workers and consumer confidence.
A formal industry update was provided at a meeting with Austrade, whose role has now formally expanded as the lead agency across tourism research and export market development grants to also include tourism recovery. “Austrade is seeking to understand Australians’ current propensity to travel, the ongoing use of future travel credits versus new business, and feedback from organisations that have availed travel,” Jardine said.
The week wraps up with a roundtable with Tourism Minister Don Farrell and another session at Austrade to provide input into the Government’s Jobs and Skill Summitt, where The Travel Corporation’s James O’Donnell will represent CATO.