Looking bac k
The year behind us has been a year of commentary and change. While it did bring several dreadful terrorism events like Paris, Brussels and Turkey, the impact upon travel and travel intent was more influenced by commentary around political situations. The terrible events in Europe had some impact for the immediate period afterwards, as has happened in the past, but don’t appear to have had lasting impacts on Australians’ decisions to travel to Europe. This shows to some degree that the world is becoming resilient to these types of tragic events and that people seem to move on quickly. It was also an Olympic year with the XXXI Olympiad held in Rio, Brazil. From all reports the Games were delivered very successfully and without any significant events that impacted on them. The Olympics did not attract as many Australians as past games and for the Australian Olympic Team it wasn’t perhaps our best on record, but the 2016 Rio Olympics were a success nonetheless. We also had a Federal election in 2016 which resulted in a nail-biting finish for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Then there was Brexit and the rise of President-elect Donald Trump. These political events have had more impact on the travel industry, or at least according to the consumer media they have. All of these events and changes have meant that consumer confidence has been lagging and, with this lag, the decision by many to travel has been postponed or deferred during the year. This meant the industry has had a patchy year with highs and lows along the way, certainly not our best year on record. But with all that said, 2016 has still delivered some outstanding results. As a metric of a good travel year, Qantas posted a record profit which shows that if the national carrier is having a good year the industry should also have a good year. It really does depend on where within the industry a business is as to what sort of 2016 they might have had. Having been in attendance at almost all of the group conferences this year, the message from members is also mixed. Some have had a great year and others an average year. The one thing that is certain is that travel agents remain relevant and continue to be relevant to consumers and suppliers alike. For AFTA and ATAS, we have had a terrific year with continued strong support for ATAS accreditation. Plus, we had our biggest NTIA ever with more categories and strong support from sponsors which delivered an outstanding event for the industry. Looking forward to 2017, I believe that the settings are in place for it to be a very good year for travel and I hope that, wherever you are in the travel value chain, next year is an improvement on the past.
the industry has had a patchy year with highs and lows along the way, certainly not our best record’ year on