Jayson Westbury, CEO, AFTA
FOLLOWING the closure of Garuda Orient Holidays’ Australian operations this week and Creative Holidays Australia just six months ago, the CEO of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), Jayson Westbury, is dismissing any suggestions the industry is in trouble.
Speaking to TTG Asia e-Daily, Westbury insisted that Australian travel agencies are “doing very well and thriving” and that the closures could be attributed to brand rationalisation that “happens from time to time in any industry”.
In a statement issued on Monday, general manager of Garuda Orient Holidays, Beanca Daluz, said: “Online travel agents have permanently altered the business model and more people are making their own arrangements online, forcing traditional travel arrangers redundant”.
But statistics show the contrary, according to Westbury, saying that travel agents are “as relevant today as they were 10 years ago”.
“Australians are using travel agents more and more and in some cases are mixing their approach to booking a holiday or trip,” he said.
“Over 80 per cent of international airline tickets sold in Australia are still via a travel agent and around 80 per cent of people booking a cruise is via a travel agent.”