FROM AFTA’s chief executive, Jayson Westbury – “Ouch” says the ceo of Red Balloon for the fines of $40,000 for not applying the new surcharging rules correctly. I think this is a real reminder to all in the travel industry that the ACCC and the Government are serious about these new laws and I encourage all travel agency owners and more broadly travel businesses who are applying card surcharges to really know what they are doing.
Curiously, the new AICS scheme set up to ensure that travel agencies can include the fees applied is well and truly set to help, but at the end of the day the burden of these changes rests with the business owner. If you need help, please make contact with AFTA — we are set and ready to do this. I have said many times, the fines will hurt.
On a less stressful topic, fantastic news about the outbound Australian movements to China being up some 15% for the year and on track to keep doing better. Perhaps Australians are seeing China as a fantastic destination to try and AFTA has continued to support the China Tourism industry in these endeavours. While off a higher base, it is interesting to note that the growth rate from China to Australia (inbound) is 12% which means that outbound is growing at a fast rate. Good on the outbound industry for this support.
I also had the great pleasure of taking part in the Travellers Choice conference in Perth over the weekend. Stunning line up of speakers and very interesting sessions, well organised and credit to those involved. The event was held at the Crown Towers Perth and for those in the industry that are yet to experience that venue (I know Magellan Travel Group held their conference at the Crown this year also), you are in for a treat. Crown Towers would be up there as one of the best hotels in Australia. The build quality, room fit out, features surroundings and integration to the broader resort of other hotels, shopping, bars, conference centre and of course the casino is world class.
On a final note, Federal Parliament, as expected, has fallen into complete and absolute chaos. The Government has moved the sitting weeks around and says it is going to resolve the marriage equality and dual citizenship issues one way or another before the long summer break. But others in the Parliament have different ideas. Interesting times as we all sit back and watch what happens and I suspect that in the end not much else will get talked about even with two by-elections to be had in a couple of weeks, and who knows what else might happen. Very interesting times for sure.