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AFTA begins search for new CEO

Group also calls on travel industry to speak with a single voice to maximise government support for the industry

The search for the highly coveted role of Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) is underway. The AFTA Board of Directors has appointed a subcommittee to manage the process and they have also named two non-exclusive search agencies Brown & Chase Talent Acquisition & Advisory and Temple Executive Search.


The AFTA Board are united in their vision to appoint an experienced and strategic minded business leader who can appropriately represent and advocate on behalf of our diverse travel sector.


The incoming CEO will have a major role in engaging and advocating at a strategic policy level with state and federal governments to ensure that AFTA member interests are well represented. 


Image Mark Harada


“The Board is looking for a skilled business leader who can develop effective and influential relationships with key stakeholders across government, members, suppliers, media and leaders of allied industry bodies,” AFTA Chair Tom Manwaring said.


“We are cognisant of the fact that the post-COVID travel landscape is going to be very different and we are recruiting with this in mind. The incoming CEO will be someone who can develop high quality business strategies that address the needs of AFTA’s membership base, which consists of some 3,000 travel agency businesses, from large corporations through to the small independent travel business, as well as build the framework for a strong and resilient industry post COVID-19. 


“The CEO will also be responsible for leading the dedicated professional team of 9 at AFTA's head office in Sydney. Until such time as we appoint a suitably qualified CEO, the AFTA team remains robust, well connected and committed.”


For more information or to apply visit


MEANWHILE, AFTA has urged the travel industry to speak with a single voice to maximise the potential for the ongoing Government support to our industry.


AFTA has been working closely with Government since the start of the pandemic to:

- Highlight the economic hit travel agents have taken, the problems agents are facing and the unique situation agents are in
- Reinforce the critical importance of travel agents to the tourism sector and the Australian economy
- Push for Government support including financial assistance


AFTA has produced a number of detailed submissions to Treasury in partnership with KPMG as part of this ongoing lobbying. A final paper formally putting the travel industry’s case for a JobKeeper extension is expected to be lodged next Tuesday.


The grass roots email campaign from tour operators and agents targeting local Parliamentarians threatens to derail AFTA’s hard work at a critical time.


Agents are being asked to channel their energy to the AFTA sentiment survey - HERE, which will provide further reinforcement of AFTA’s case to government of the need for additional support including the extension of the eligibility of JobKeeper.


“Treasury and Government have made it very clear that they need hard facts and data to determine the expansion of eligibility for JobKeeper. This is why we have invested time and resources in partnering with KPMG to provide the level of detail necessary,” said Tom Manwaring, Chair of AFTA on behalf of the AFTA Board.


“This lobbying has been underway since the start of the pandemic with the AFTA team advocating since late January on the need for Government support for travel agents and our sector. It’s a complex and detailed interaction and it takes time."


“We are fighting on multiple fronts and we want to make sure that our message does not get diluted or confused. Writing a letter to your MP might make you feel good but it may in fact be counter-productive to AFTA's efforts and may not assist with the process at this late stage.”


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