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AFTA Update

AFTA Update: Travel Daily Exclusive - Tuesday 7 August

I start this week with a special thought for all those impacted by the earthquake on the Indonesian island of Lombok. The early reports give a bleak picture of what has occurred and no doubt over the coming days the true weight of this natural disaster will be known.

Thoughts and prayers are with all those caught up in this situation and no doubt the Australian travel industry is in full crisis mode as people want to get safe and more importantly get home.It is a situation that will need a close eye by all, that is for sure. I would suggest that pressure will be placed on all airlines flying into Indonesia including Bali at this time, so the best approach is for us to be patient and do the best we can.

It does seem that part of the world is having its disproportionate amount of natural disaster trouble with the recent and somewhat ongoing trouble with the Mt Agung volcano on Bali and the latest earthquakes. As a destination that Aussies just can’t get enough of, it definitely puts all sorts of pressure on the authorities and the Indonesian Government to try and assist those who are stuck in the middle of all of this.

I am sure the Australian Government will do what it can to provide assistance and as mentioned, no doubt, the travel industry will do its part as we always do.

On a more positive note and closer to home, reports that the Australian Government has finally come to terms with “E” boarding passes is very good news. Those who travel regularly will know that this is available in many countries around the world and does make many of the processes and interactions with both airlines and authorities more
efficient and basically easier for the traveller.

It is pleasing to see the government move in this direction, it follows the removal of the green departure card and means that one can now potentially depart Australia with a passport and a mobile phone. No doubt more enhancements to the process will come and from what we understand some of this will come soon, including enhanced biometric processes which may include facial recognition meaning your passport can stay in your pocket.

Perhaps one day all we will need is a small microchip clipped to our ear, or under our wrist and off we go. I sometimes do think that the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report was way before its time, but perhaps not. Not sure I am ready for an eye ball replacement just yet.

But seriously, these passenger movement enhancements are cutting edge and the government should be congratulated for moving on these measures making the travelling experience more seamless and hassle free.