Time To Shine on The Gold Coast


TRAVELLERS CHOICE is ensuring its 2023 conference leaves its members equipped to seize opportunities and outshine the competition.

Themed ‘Shine’, this year’s event – which takes place from November 10-12 at The Star Gold Coast – will feature a speaker line-up headlined by UK-based customer service visionary Geoff Ramm (pictured above).

Described by FORBES magazine as “a game changer”, Ramm works with some of the world’s leading brands, including Warner Brothers and McDonalds, to forge innovative customer service concepts.

More than 250 members and preferred partners are expected to attend this year’s event.

The conference will also feature interactive workshops, networking sessions, a preferred supplier exhibition and the return of the National Awards Gala Dinner, where members will be encouraged to embrace “a new level of luminance”.

“Not only are we seeing incredibly strong and sustained demand for travel, but consumers are now more aware than ever of the unrivalled expertise and enormous value that travel professionals deliver,” said Christian Hunter, Managing Director.

“Our future looks brighter than ever. This is our time to shine.”



IN ONE of the most significant milestones in its 66-year history, one of travel’s peak governing bodies has unanimously accepted a new constitution.

Members of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) voted for the change at the recent Annual General Meeting in Sydney.

There has been a significant review and public consultation to establish the new constitution which reflects the changes in the travel sector and embeds the principle of fairness in AFTA’s governance.

“It’s been a busy year hallmarked by extensive consultation across AFTA, the travel sector and more widely as we reshape the organisation to deliver for all members,” said Tom Manwaring, AFTA Chair.

“One of the cornerstone commitments that shapes all our decisions is a focus on fairness and this is embedded in our new Constitution. The reforms are many including at voting level with member votes now aligned in a more balanced and fairer structure.

“The adoption of the new Constitution is one of the most significant milestones in this organisation’s existence and cements the Board’s focus on renewal and growth over the past 12 months.”

Other highlights of the AFTA year include:

•  The formation of the Workforce Taskforce to focus on travel’s workforce and skills shortage. Detailed policy positions and several submissions were developed with multiple ministerial and departmental briefings achieving change for members including the addition of “travel consultants” to the Government’s Skills Priority List

•  Submissions to the ACCC, Austrade and various parliamentary committees and reviews

•  143 political and 123 public sector briefings

•  Ongoing advocacy work including through investment in the LNP and Labor policy forums and corporate programs as well as National Press Club

•  Member services and support including the return of NTIA in October and the very first Women in Travel Summit in March.

“We are finalising the ATAS Advisory Committee which will have dedicated positions for agents, tour operators, wholesalers and consumer groups with details to be released in the next quarter,” added Manwaring.

“We are currently finalising the strategic plan for the next four years which will drive the greatest change and improvements to our membership in many decades.”



THE COUNCIL of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) is celebrating a significant milestone as it achieves record membership levels.

The industry association has seen a 30 per cent growth in membership since the same period last year as it advocates on behalf of Australian-based outbound tour operators and wholesalers.

“The resounding success of CATO’s new Accreditation program, coupled with our highly engaging annual events and ongoing advocacy efforts, showcases our unwavering commitment to nurturing strong member relationships,” said Brett Jardine, CATO Managing Director.

By actively championing the industry’s interests, CATO ensures that its members are recognised as a critical link in the development and distribution of outbound leisure travel products, benefiting all stakeholders in the industry.

“Their leadership through COVID was exemplary,” said Euan Landsborough, CATO member and Albatross Tours MD.

“Their focus on delivering insightful, industry leading educational events throughout each year are of the highest standard providing numerous opportunities to collaborate with like-minded, professional business owners.”

• The travel industry can now secure its tickets to two networking events hosted by CATO – Trivia Masters and the CATO Christmas lunch.




TRAVEL ASSOCIATES hosted its annual Global Luxury Business Leader’s Conference in Singapore in the lead up to ILTM Asia Pacific.

Themed ‘The Greatest Brand’, the conference saw a series of inspirational sessions from industry leaders, the senior management team and partner roundtables with major event sponsors.

Around 100 delegates attended the event from Australia and New Zealand including 65 Travel Associates business leaders, supplier partners and senior management of the brand.

Speakers included Danielle Galloway, Global Managing Director of FCTG Luxury Leisure, Rachel Kingswell, General Manager of Travel Associates AU & NZ, Alison Gilmore, Portfolio Director for ILTM, and Michael Londregan, Senior Vice President of Virtuoso.

Following the conference, all 65 Travel Associates business leaders went on to spend the week at ILTM Asia Pacific, representing the largest brand group to attend the luxury trade showcase.