Midweek Catch-up with CATO & SETO’s Brett Harvey

Midweek Catch-up with CATO & SETO’s Brett Harvey

This week CATO and SETO’s business development and events manager reveals all. Not in a racy way, get your mind out of the gutter.

What’s your main goal for this year?

To support the Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) and Student Education Travel Organisation (SETO) by strengthening ties, collaborating with members, and making new connections to grow both organisations.

What’s your favourite thing about working in the travel industry?

Returning from a covid hiatus, I am excited by the camaraderie that I missed during the pandemic. People within the Australian travel industry genuinely want to provide consumers with fantastic travel experiences and now, more than ever, want to work together to progress the industry.

How do you like to spend your free time?

Besides spending time with my lovely family, I am very excited to be home in Australia to get back in the ocean for a surf.

Have you managed to do any travelling since restrictions began to ease (domestic or international)?

Being based in Bangkok during Covid was quite a good place to be locked in. I have been fortunate to visit many of Thailand’s most beautiful locations during this time with just a handful of people around in many cases.

Highlights were Railay Beach, Koh Lanta, Maya Bay, Phuket, Hua Hin, Kanchanaburi, Khao Yai and Ayutthaya. We also managed to sneak a weekend to Hoi An, Vietnam recently when restrictions loosened between both countries.

What’s your favourite travel company, besides the one you work for?

Having worked in the tour operator sector for most of my career, I have a soft spot for many in the industry.

Outside of this, I currently admire what Air Asia is doing in terms of vertical integration. Being based in Bangkok, I have witnessed the expansion of their Super App which is capable of booking, flights, accommodation, food delivery, taxis, and insurance, and even has facial recognition.

Whilst it is early days, I am impressed with how they have invested during covid in creating an all-inclusive tech-savvy travel app.

If you could invite three famous guests (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would you choose?

Kelly Slater, Louis XIV, and Princess Diana.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the global pandemic hit?

Mass tourism destinations and environments were given an opportunity to breathe, rejuvenate, re-focus and recover. I visited Maya Bay recently and, whilst tourism is back there, the positive changes to protect the fragile ecosystem is great to see.

What’s your advice for others in the travel industry on coping with the global pandemic?

Stay positive, the light is at the end of the tunnel as people are travelling again. Share the positive word that it is proving to be safe, fun and a great time to travel.

What book and/or TV show can you not get enough of lately?

Nordic Noir, I am addicted to series such as Darkness, Furia, The Bridge, Backstrom and many more.

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