The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has announced that CEO Darren Rudd is leaving the organisation for personal reasons.
Chair Tom Manwaring will become the interim executive chair of AFTA.
“Darren’s time in the CEO’s role covers one of the most challenging periods for the organisation, our members and the wider tourism sector ever,” Manwaring said.
“The AFTA board wish to thank Darren for his contribution during this very difficult time, but we understand and respect that this is the right decision for Darren.”
“We thank Darren for his contribution to AFTA and our members during his time as CEO and wish him all the best.”
“The AFTA board has been heavily involved given the seriousness and scope of the COVID impact on our members, our sector and AFTA itself.
“We are all actively focused on navigating our sector and this organisation through this on behalf of our members. All directors have been and will continue to be active in engaging with government at all levels to maximise support for our members.”
Commenting on his departure, Rudd said: “I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved together at AFTA, especially given the significant financial constraints in place and the multiple, ongoing challenges of COVID.
“The board, the team and I have all worked tirelessly as one to support the wonderful travel agents of Australia.”
“During my time as CEO, AFTA successfully secured a total of $258 million in tailored support through the federal government’s COVID Consumer [Travel] Support Program, and together with our members, we made sure that the plight of travel agents and businesses and the need for support was understood at every level of government.
“I have met so many resilient people through my time in this role and I know how tough it is for everyone in travel and tourism who will continue to do it tough until international travel returns.
“It has been an honour to lead this organisation during this period and a privilege to work with AFTA’s members, the team and the board.”