FROM AFTA’s chief executive, Jayson Westbury
I HAD the great pleasure of taking part over the past weekend (18/19 Feb) in the Association of Travel Management Companies (ATMC) corporate engagement event with Qatar Airways in Doha, Qatar.
A distinguished group of Australian TMCs gathered to experience the Qatar Airways’ flying experience along with Doha, both as a transit hub, but also as a stopover destination. The group was definitely impressed with the entire experience and for me personally, it was a first. A first for flying with Qatar Airways and a first visit to Doha.
The Middle East definitely is a part of the world that has its troubles but as a corporate traveller stopping over in Doha, there was nothing to see other than a vibrant success story with all the most amazing modern trimmings that regular corporate travellers have come to expect.
Doha’s Hamad International Airport for example is a well-oiled (pardon the pun) machine that works very efficiently, is immaculately clean and brings a highly sought-after experience at every turn.
With the latest introduction of new services by Qatar Airways into Australia including Canberra, there are definitely some new experiences to be had for the Australian travelling public. I was a guest of Qatar Airways, and thank them, along with the Grand Hyatt Doha for their wonderful hospitality.
Those TMCs within the Australian market that have not yet considered joining the ATMC, you should consider taking another look as the organisation has definitely turned a corner and has a new, clear vision for consultation and dialog on all the issues that face the corporate travel market that impact not only upon TMCs but also the clients who provide the first-hand feedback on their experiences at airports and more broadly their travel experiences. Corporate travel remains a driving force within the Australian Travel Agency landscape and it forms an important part of the work that AFTA does on behalf of the corporate travel members across a range of issues.
2018 is set to be a very significant year of corporate travel agencies who tend to hold IATA accreditation and over the coming months there will be some serious and significant detail being released about changes to the IATA Passenger Program and the implementation in the 4th quarter of 2018 of the IATA NewGenISS, resolution 812. AFTA will be working with IATA and members to ensure that information and detail starts to flow about the pending changes as soon as possible.
Change is upon us, some good, some not so good, but in the end, I hope that with the right communication, agency owners will not be caught off guard for what lies ahead. Stay tuned, the details are coming.