The Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) held functions this week in Melbourne and Sydney to launch their new strategic plan.
The plan follows a changing of the guard at the AGM in June when Dennis Bunnik, Bunnik Tours, took over as chairman and a number of new members joined the CATO Committee.
“In August the new committee spent a full day in a strategic planning session with the aim of clearly defining CATO’s role and future direction. This plan is the result of much work and discussion by the committee on where CATO sits within the newly deregulated industry.” said Dennis Bunnik
“We have clearly defined CATO‘s purpose as being to represent, lead and serve the land product sector of the travel industry. This includes tour operators, wholesalers and national tourist offices who form part of the CATO membership and supply product and destinations to the retail travel industry.” said Bunnik
As the industry has become deregulated CATO has had to stand up and take a more active role in leading our sector. We have identified a number of priorities that will add value to our members with the key aim being to make CATO membership count.
CATO will launch a series of professional development initiatives which will share best practice techniques in a number of critical business areas. This will commence with CATO hosting a Crisis Management Forum in Sydney in March 2016. Coordinated by crisis expert David Beirman, the full day forum will include practical training and advice for our membership in how to handle various crisis management issues. Speakers will include DFAT and an expert panel across the industry who will share first-hand experience in deal with various crisis situations. A crisis management plan template for CATO members will also be developed. Full details of this event will be released in January.
Continuing in the theme of business professionalism the CATO logo will, from January, feature individual registration numbers for all CATO tour operators. A marketing campaign will be launched to encourage agents and consumers to ensure they only use registered CATO members and to look for the number.
The CATO website will be relaunched in 2016 with a full search facility added to make it easier for travel consultants to find niche product. “We have an incredible array of CATO members with some fantastic unique product. Our new website will ensure that this product is easier for travel agents to find so that they are able to better compete with clients searching online and booking direct with overseas operators. We will also be providing a facility for Tourism Offices to feature information on their destinations, services and events for our members to connect with” added Bunnik
Further initiatives from CATO include better engagement with other sectors of the industry and continued representation on the DFAT Smart Traveller Advisory Committee. Progress updates on CATO Strategic Plan will be provided to all members at each meeting/event.