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AFTA Board update | 19 MAY 2020

AFTA Chair, Tom Manwaring on behalf of the AFTA Board

It is with deep regret that the AFTA Board accepted Jayson Westbury’s resignation last Wednesday.

The Board* has a clear charter – to act in the interests of AFTA and our AFTA members at all times.

Jayson’s contribution to AFTA and to our industry at an Australian and global level is significant. He has championed this organisation and Australian travel agents for 13 years, often at great personal cost with time away from his young family. He has led our sector through the transformation to industry self-regulation with many other game-changing initiatives. Jayson has been fearless and tireless in his advocacy at all political levels.

One of Jayson’s other key contributions is his success in building, mentoring and supporting an incredibly talented, connected and committed team at AFTA. Our AFTA operational team is exemplary, each bringing their own skills and expertise and each having benefited from working alongside Jayson. Almost without fail, each of the team have commented on Jayson’s generosity, loyalty and passion in supporting their own professional development.

It is this fact that makes it very easy for the Board to commit to you that it is Business as Usual. The recruitment process for the incoming CEO will commence this week. Candidates will need to appropriately represent the diversity within our sector. The Board is very grateful to AFTA’s Head of Strategy & Finance Courtney Duddleston for accepting the role of Acting GM Operations while recruitment is underway.

These are challenging times. On top of COVID, we have all had the frustration and disappointment at some mainstream media reluctance and/or refusal to accurately report the role of travel agents in the supply and refund chain. This has, wrongly, led to travel agents being abused and threatened.

We know this makes you angry. It certainly makes us angry. While the AFTA “The Facts on Refunds” campaign to spotlight the good news stories continues to gain traction, we continue to explore additional opportunities to get the word out.

Thank you for your feedback, thoughts and recommendations and for sharing them with us and the AFTA team in a mainly constructive, open and respectful way.

Thank you for your understanding that we have, and will continue to act in the interests of this organisation so that AFTA can continue delivering for you.

Know that we all remain determined to keep delivering initiatives and support that drive real benefit your way. Know that we continue to lobby hard so the key decision makers at a Federal, State and Territory as well as consumers know the reality we all face, and the critical role travel agents will play in Australia’s economic recovery.

These are stressful times for all of us. By continuing to work together, we can and will emerge stronger.

Next Tuesday’s update by the AFTA team will cover key initiatives to tackle member challenges and weekly team priorities.

* To learn more about your AFTA Directors please visit