A long-established and respected Darwin travel agent is closing down, blaming the failure of her business on the Northern Territory Government’s decision to move bookings to big interstate competitors.
Sandra Lew Fatt and Associates Travelworld, a member of Helloworld, is in the process of an orderly closing down. Sandra Lew Fatt is an institution in the Territory and has been serving Darwin-based travellers for more than 40 years.
The firm sent out the following message:
We wish to inform you that Sandra Lew Fatt & Associates Travelworld will be closing effective 31 December 2015.
Due to the downturn in Government Business turning away from Local Businesses it has become unviable to continue operating and Sandra Lew Fatt has decided to finally retire after 40+ years in the Industry.
It was very disappointing to learn (quite accidently) of the NT Government’s decision to stop booking with locally owned and operated Travel Agents and commence a trial booking system using FCM and QBT as their Travel Managers, for all Government Departments, before calling for Tenders for one only Agency to manage the whole of NT Government Travel arrangements.
Previously, the locally owned travel agencies who were capable (both professionally and financially) of handling Corporate accounts each had a share of this Government Business. The money stayed in the Territory, provided jobs for Territorians and maintained a 24/7 service (from the Chief Minister down).
By using FCM (part of the flight centre group, who does have a presence in the Territory) and QBT (Qantas Business Travel, who DOES NOT have a presence in the Territory) the revenue goes out of the Territory – FCM to Queensland and QBT to Western Australia. This suggests the current NT Government is not supportive of local Businesses and Territorians. Locally owned and operated travel agencies have already closed down, more will follow and we have lost good hard working professional Territorians.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has shown their support and loyalty. Even though Sandra will no longer be taking on new bookings she will still be around next year to finalize all outstanding bookings held for 2016.
Sandra Lew Fatt
Traci Lew Fatt
The Northern Territory travel industry has been in the spotlight recently as the result of another Darwin travel agent, totally unconnected with Sandra Lew Fatt and Associates Travelworld, being investigated for rorting a pensioner travel concessions scheme.
That long-running, high-profile case and its ramifications may have influenced the NT government to place its travel bookings with agents outside the Territory.
Just a week ago, Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles told ABC News that the NT Government’s new travel policy delivered greater value for money and greater accountability, and prevented any rorting of its bookings.
Written by Peter Needham