More than 400 members of the travel industry sat down among fantastic food, drink and company yesterday to enjoy the CATO Christmas Party for 2023.
Held at Doltone House in Pyrmont, the annual festive gathering was sponsored by Visit Europe, a collective of eight tourism offices jointly promoting tourism to the continent.
Guests were first greeted by a ‘White Christmas’ setting courtesy of Destination Canada which showcased the country’s wonderful winter offerings, a frivolous and decorative feature despite the near 30-degree temperature in Sydney at the time.
After being welcomed to the event by CATO Managing Director, Brett Jardine, proceedings were admirably led as emcee by the irrepressible Susan Haberle from Abercrombie & Kent, whose delightful enthusiasm knows no bounds.
Guests were entertained early on by a trio of spectacularly talented Irish dancers who tapped their way to an appreciative round of applause from a highly impressed crowd.
Another highlight of the day was the unique tech illusions by Magic Mike - repeatedly assured as not being a stripper - who carried guests through a few amusing tricks performed on mobile phone calculators and with randomised decks of cards.
A special guest presentation saw Jet Zero Council member and Sustainable Aviation Fuel advocate Heidi Hauf sit down with G Adventures Australia Managing Director, Sean Martin, for a frank discussion on how Australia is falling behind the rest of the world in terms of developing a future-proofed industry despite being so rich in natural resources.
“Australia is so rich in feedstock which can be turned into Sustainable Aviation Fuel, but at the moment, we’re exporting our resources to countries who are turning it into fuel, and then we’re buying it back,” Hauf said.
And true to the season, even Santa Claus himself dropped in to help distribute more than $30,000 in prizes to lucky attendees, with some walking away with prepaid Mastercards, holidays to Singapore with Scoot flights, and a fantastic African adventure from The Africa Safari Co.
After another record year for the travel industry, the CATO Board of Directors were welcomed to the stage for a round of applause for their efforts collaborating and advocating for the best interests of the touring industry, despite each member technically competing in their respective businesses.
Throughout the proceedings, guests enjoyed the fun, laughter, networking and festive times as the industry wound down to celebrate the Christmas season for another year.
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