The Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) has held crisis planning talks with its members to support their short- and long-term needs.
CATO managing director Brett Jardine (pictured above) said the talks were crucial to the sector’s recovery.
“We need to take a unified approach and work together to ensure the survival of our industry, so we are ready to help travellers with their plans when the timing is right,” he said.
A three-point action plan resulted from the meeting:
Point #1: Working together to bring Australians home
Members agreed that the first and most immediate priority was to share information and develop collaborative solutions to assist with the immediate repatriation to Australia of their clients currently travelling overseas regardless of which company they had booked with.
“Travellers book with Australian tour operators, so they have the peace of mind advantage of end to end support with their holiday plans,” Jardine said.
“More than ever, we are mindful of delivering on that promise to our clients.”
Point #2: Supporting travellers and staff
Members heard from an expert advisory team, including insurance and legal specialists, who were brought in to provide recommendations on how to best support travellers and ensure they could enjoy their holidays at a future time.
CATO reinforced its position outlined last week that the provision of credits to travellers is preferred where possible.
It was agreed that this approach would deliver the best outcomes for travellers, and may also help to protect the financial health of tour operators and wholesalers which, in turn, will assist their staff, their travel agent partners and also suppliers such as airlines and hotels.
Point #3: Planning for the recovery
CATO will continue to work with other industry associations and government organisations to ensure the best possible outcomes for the sector.
Jardine closed the meeting by reiterating the vital importance of the travel industry to the Australian economy.
“We are at a critical juncture,” he said. “Working together with our members and other like-minded organisations, we need to enact smart decision-making to ensure that the travel industry survives this immediate crisis.
“We also need to start planning for the rebound, which will undoubtedly happen, to make sure we are ready to help our clients reboot their holiday plans and reignite the outbound travel sector.”