TA sticks to its guns in Qantas feud

TA sticks to its guns in Qantas feud
By admin


Tourism Australia has insisted the marketing of Australia will not be compromised by Qantas’s decision to terminate commercial ties with the organisation.

While an important part of its promotional activity, TA said in a statement this afternoon that the withdrawal of support by Qantas will not damage its overseas campaigns.

The tourism body also confirmed its backing for chairman Geoff Dixon – who is at the centre of the row – and argued that his connections to Qantas “did not create an unmanageable conflict of interests”.

That view is in stark contrast to Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce who said Dixon’s involvement in the “APA mark II club”, which is briefing against the airline’s strategy, made it impossible for Qantas to continue working with TA.

TA managing director Andrew McEvoy said in the statement: “We’d like to reassure the industry that, given the number and scale of other commercial partnerships, Tourism Australia will continue to aggressively market Australia to overseas consumers.

“Tourism Australia works with many commercial partners including 20 international airlines as well as the states and territories, Australian industry and international travel distributors.”

TA will strive to “continue to deliver on its objectives” with those partners, he said.

McEvoy conceded that the Qantas Group represents TA’s “largest and highest value tourism marketing partnership”. But he played down the significance compared to the overall marketing spend.

“This year alone, Qantas and TA were contributing almost $5 million each to market Australia for mutual benefit in key markets such as the UK and USA,” McEvoy said. “While important, this and other support represents around 6% of Tourism Australia’s total marketing effort and we are confident that our future spend won’t be compromised in any way.”

But the statement failed to detail if TA would aim to replace the Qantas support by potentially working more closely with other carriers.

McEvoy added it was “encouraging” to note that Qantas has committed to the G’Day LA/G’day USA campaign in January and to ATE in April.

TA defended Dixon in the statement, stressing that he had previously declared an interest in Qantas in line with TA’s Board Charter and Governance protocols.

“It was the board’s view at the time, and remains the case, that this does not create an unmanageable conflict of interest,” the statement said.

Deputy chair Kate Lamont, added: “As per regular board protocols, having declared the interest, chairman Geoff Dixon will continue to absent himself from all matters relating to the Qantas Group.”

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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