ATIA names three new board members and appoints chair

Laptop blank screen on wood table with blurred coffee shop cafe interior background and lighting bokeh, mockup, template for your text, Clipping paths included for background and device screen
Edited by Travel Weekly

    UPDATE 19 June. 11:56am:

    The ATIA board has elected Christian Hunter as Chair, and Laura Ruffles has been elected vice chair alongside Graham Turner, who is returning as vice chair.

    Hunter said of his appointment “It is a great honour and privilege to be elected as ATIA’s Chair and lead such an esteemed Board. I’d like to acknowledge outgoing Chair, Tom Manwaring, for his outstanding leadership throughout some extremely challenging circumstances.

    Tom’s dedication and vision have left an indelible mark on the ATIA and the broader Travel industry. We extend our deepest gratitude to Tom for his exceptional service and leadership. His contributions have been invaluable, and his impact will be felt for many years to come.”

    “We are delighted to have such passionate and experienced industry leaders in the form of Brett, Gai, and Rohan join the Board. Our new Directors all love the industry and are eager to share their expertise and contribute.”

    ATIA’s new chair Christian Hunter

    This follows the news that three new directors have today joined the ATIA board: Intrepid Travel’s managing director ANZ Brett Mitchell, Globus’s managing director of Asia Pacific, Gai Tyrrell, and Helloworld’s Rohan Moss.

    Joining the new members were returning members David Hosking (The Travel Corporation), David Smith (Flight Centre), and Peter Muller (ATPI).

    The Association sought nominations for six available positions by the Association’s constitution to be director of ATIA.

    The news comes after Roy Merricks, Spiros Alysandratos and Tom Manwaring all announced their resignations from the Board.

    Each of the formally appointed members will serve a two-year term. The newly appointed directors join those already serving:

    • Christian Hunter (Travellors Choice)
    • Cinzia Burnes (Helloworld)
    • Danielle Russom (American Express)
    • Graham Turner (Flight Centre)
    • Laura Ruffles (Corporate Travel Management)
    • Shelley Beasley (Webjet)

    The ATIA’s highlights of the year include:

    • Establishment of an independent ATAS Advisory Committee, with representation of the full ATIA membership base.
    • Enhanced member engagement in the form of launching the Member Skills and Workforce Survey, and NTIA Custodians program.
    • ATIA continues to be active in discussions with political leaders in Canberra, including the Prime Minister, key Ministers and Senators in their offices, and Opposition Shadow Ministers to deliver on priorities for member businesses and discuss the economic importance of the travel industry, aviation competition, unfair conduct, price parity arrangements, and skills.
    • ATIA secured a number of Ministerial commitments on either implementing ATIA recommendations or consulting more closely with ATIA.
    • ATIA appearing before the Senate Committee Inquiry into Bilateral Air Service Agreements, in addition to making a submission. The Report contained 10 key recommendations, many of which aligned with key asks in ATIA’s submission.
    • ATIA is continuing to engage with the Federal Government to support travel businesses in rebuilding their workforces, with a submission to ensure key travel occupations are eligible for skilled migration.
    • ATIA conducted its first Skills & Workforce Survey early this year. The survey provides a useful benchmark and an important evidence base for ATIA’s advocacy, including submissions and participation in consultation processes throughout the year.

    A word from the new members 

    Gai Tyrrell, managing director of Asia Pacific, Globus

    “I learnt early in my career that for a travel business to succeed, you need to adapt to changes in the environment and build collaborative, mutually beneficial relationships. Having a peak industry body in ATIA makes this easier as you have the collective support of like-minded leaders, partners, and industry stakeholders who work together to amplify a shared voice for travel on your behalf.”

    My message for ATIA Members is a simple one. I will work to maintain your confidence and advocate on your behalf because I understand the economic importance of travel and the challenges Member businesses are facing. ATIA’s role as a crucial advocate for Members, and a steward of industry standards, is more important than ever as travel businesses continue rebuilding their workforces and meeting the needs of their customers.”

    Brett Mitchell, Managing Director ANZ at Intrepid Travel

    “I‘m a passionate believer in why the ATIA was created — that is, to bring our industry together. As Director, I will work with the Board to advocate strongly for Member business interests at all levels of government, representing the specific needs of the tour operator segment while also bringing my unique global perspective that encompasses the breadth of the travel landscape.”

    ATIA plays a critical role in promoting the key economic importance of the multibillion-dollar travel industry and engaging with key political decision-makers to continue rebuilding the travel workforce. I’m excited to take the opportunity to elevate ATIA’s position as a shared voice for travel and drive more industry collaboration and public awareness of the value of ATAS.”

    Rohan Moss, group general manager – consolidation, Helloworld 

    “Much like ATIA, which represents all facets of the travel industry, my background also covers a wide range of travel sectors, and I am grateful to now have the opportunity to share my insight, knowledge, and experience with the Board.”

    My deep understanding of all major segments of the travel landscape has been built over 40 years in the industry, including travel agents, wholesale, airlines and consolidation, hotels and corporate and government travel management. This means I provide an inclusive perspective and broad input to the Board to assist in delivering outcomes that work for all ATIA Members.”


    ATIA life member Spiros Alysandtratos to step down from board after 16 years, Roy Merricks follows suit

    Email the Travel Weekly team at

    ATIA board

    Latest News

    • Aviation
    • News

    UPDATE: Crash compensation unlikely, says head of digital disruption payment system

    Southern Cross Travel Insurance says it will be covering claimable losses caused by the Crowdstrike global network outage event, despite its own operations not being affected. “We will be covering claimable losses caused by this event, provided all other conditions and criteria for cover are met (and subject to any limits, sub-limits and/or any exclusions […]

    • Food & Beverage

    Exciting culinary experiences across Asia

    Here is a look at some exciting experiences across Asia to enhance traveller vacations in iconic cities across the continent. The Mai Restaurant at Meliá Chiang Mai Located on the 21st floor of the iconic hotel, the Mai Restaurant has launched a Thai-inspired afternoon tea for two that pays tribute to the Baan Tawai Wood […]

    • Regional
    • Tour Operators

    On Foot Holidays launches Ligurian Hills hiking tour promotion

    Australians can explore Italy’s Ligurian Hills on foot on a self-guided, inn-to-inn hike with Onn Foot Holidays new promotional rates. Liguria is a coastal region in north-western Italy near the French border, known for its mountains, rolling hills and seaside ports. On Foot Holidays’ seven-night holiday begins with two days of walking through vineyards and […]

    • Products

    Mandarin Oriental takes a dive into swimwear with $360 board shorts

    If you were inspired by The Inspired Unemployed’s Liam Moore limited-edition pair of Budgy Smugglers but want a bit more coverage, then here’s your chance. The Orlebar Brown brand has introduced an original design of the Bulldog swim short for Mandarin Oriental hotels – yours for a snip at US$242.25 (AU$360). They have been “designed […]

    • Health & Wellness
    • Luxury

    Trisara showcases sustainable dining via wellspring program

    Phuket-based resort Trisara is transporting guests from resort to farm to table then back again courtesy of a new limited-time program, Wellspring. The package is a collaboration with Tri Vananda, a US$182 million (AU $270 million) wellness community in northern Phuket, conceived by Montara Hospitality Group, the owners of Trisara. In addition to entitling guests […]

    • Aviation

    Emirates SkyCargo expands fleet with five Boeing 777 freighters

    Emirates SkyCargo announced an investment of US$1 billion (AU$1.484b) to expand its fleet with an order of five new Boeing 777 freighters. The investment follows a strong performance in the first quarter of the 2024/25 financial year. Emirates SkyCargo expects the new freighters to increase its capacity by 30 per cent. The increase enables the […]

    • Events
    • Tour Operators

    ITE HCMC 2024 focuses on sustainable tourism for creating a future

    The 18th annual International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City (ITE HCMC) will take place from 5 to 7 September at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center. Under the theme “Responsible Travel, Creating Future”, the expo will highlight its dedication to promoting sustainable tourism practices and showcasing innovative tourism products and services to meet rigorous […]