The Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) recently participated in a special forum with News Corp Australia to talk about how the publisher can play its part in tourism’s recovery.
The forum brought together senior executives and editorial staff from News Corp travel publications Escape and The Sunday Telegraph, as well as major advertisers from the land supply sector to discuss how the Murdoch-owned press can “facilitate” the recovery of the industry.
CATO members attending the forum included senior executives from Scenic, APT, Insight Vacations, Globus Family of Brands, Collette, Intrepid Travel, Wendy Wu Tours, Bunnik Tours and the Entire Travel Group, alongside managing director Brett Jardine and chairman Dennis Bunnik.
“The supply sectors of the industry – tour operators, wholesalers, airlines and cruise companies – underpin the financial success of the weekend papers through advertising revenue,” Jardine said.
“This is both in the form of direct expenditure and through co-op advertising with retailers.
“With this in mind, CATO is actively engaging with media companies to ensure balanced reporting and to map viable support strategies as we head down the COVID road to recovery.”
Among the topics discussed during the forum were the need for what CATO described as “balanced” reporting around refunds and travel credits; the need to rebuild consumer confidence; and keeping audiences engaged in travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, the forum also veered into the territory of border restrictions and the need for “a clear and comprehensive plan from the government to open borders”.
“Before the industry is able to invest in advertising and marketing, we need to be confident that state and federal governments actually have a plan to open borders, rather than just wait for a vaccine,” CATO said.
Over the coming weeks and months, CATO said it will continue to engage actively with News Corp and its senior leaders “for the benefit of members and the Australian travel industry”.
News of the forum comes not long after CATO released its controversial discussion paper on travel industry reform, which was met with criticism from the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, while the Cruise Lines International Association distanced itself from the paper.