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Travel Daily Exclusive - Tuesday 18 December 2018

The year has come to a fast paced close and this will be my last Travel Daily column for 2018. In fact, next Tue is
Christmas Day and it all seems to have come so quickly. I, like many in the travel industry will be taking some down time over the Christmas break and will be looking forward to returning mid-Jan.

To all the AFTA members, wonderful supportive suppliers, broader travel industry stakeholders and industry friends, I hope that your Christmas is a joyous one and that 2019 becomes your best year on record. The Australian outbound travel industry continues to punch well above its weight with more and more Aussies choosing to take a holiday overseas.

We are in fact the eighth largest by number of passenger movements outbound travel industry in the world and the
Australian IATA BSP is now the fifth largest BSP on the planet. It is truly incredible that the Australian travel industry
continues to do so well on most of the key global travel industry metrics and it is a credit to each and every person who plays a role in making dreams come true for Australians taking a business or leisure trip each year.

You should all take a bow for what has been a terrific year for the Australian travel industry. From a forecasting point of view and while the federal election will be held next year, there appears to be all the signs that 2019 could out do what has been a great year for travel. Let’s all hope that will be the case.

I wanted to finish this year with an enormous shout out to Mike Thompson who stepped down this month as the Chairman of AFTA after more than 10 years. Mike has actually been a Director on the AFTA Board for 12 years. AFTA and its members have been the beneficiary of his leadership, good humour, broad knowledge, incredible intelligence and tenacity over all these years and if there is one thing that we will miss the most, it’s his ability to spell. He liked to correct poor spelling and as I am sure is the case with all of us, there is no room in this world for bad spellers.

So a big thank you to Mike for his time with AFTA, his friendship which I am sure will go on with so many in the travel industry. Mike will be remaining as an industry representative on the AFTA Chargeback Scheme Board so he has not really left us and this is his way of continuing to contribute to the industry and provide his support as we endeavour to build a better travel industry in Australia for all stakeholders.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a very safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve to all.