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Friday, December 8, 2023

Industry Experts step up for ATAS Advisory Committee

The Australian Travel Industry Association (ATIA) is delighted to introduce the newly appointed members of the ATAS Advisory Committee (AAC). The ten industry experts named to the AAC will play a vital role in guiding the Australian Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS), ensuring it continues to serve as a beacon of trust and distinction within the industry and for consumers.

In a concerted effort to reflect the dynamic and multifaceted nature of the travel industry, the AAC’s new membership comprises a balanced representation of experience, expertise, skills, and backgrounds.

·       Brett Mitchell from Intrepid, representing Tour Companies.

·       Chad Carey from Chimu, bringing a wealth of knowledge from Tour Operations.

·       Deb Fox from Abercrombie & Kent, a key Tour Operator.

·       David Walker from ITC Pacific (Sno n Ski), adding depth with Wholesaler insights.

·       Ken Morgan from ATAC, representing Network/Groups.

·       Scott Darlow from LINK, with expertise in Corporate Travel.

·       Steve Hui from IFLYflat, offering a perspective on Online/Hybrid Travel.

·       Gina Norman from RAA, embodying the spirit of Retail Travel.

·       Brett Dann from Hunter Travel Group, with a focus on Retail.

·       Lauren Gray from 1000 Mile Group, representing Host Networks.

ATAS, the Travel Sector’s prestigious accreditation programme, is pivotal in distinguishing exemplary travel businesses that meet and exceed the highest industry benchmarks. Accreditation under ATAS is contingent upon stringent criteria, including an in-depth analysis of business models, compliance with Australian Consumer Law, indemnity insurance verification, workforce qualification standards, annual financial reviews, daily director checks, and a robust consumer complaints programme.

These new members represent a commitment to the ATAS’s future as a scheme that not only evaluates but inspires travel businesses to reach the pinnacle of operational excellence.

ATIA CEO Dean Long said: “We are thrilled to welcome the new members to the ATAS Advisory Committee. Their collective wisdom and extensive industry experience will undoubtedly contribute to the robust oversight and strategic direction of the ATAS. This committee is instrumental in ensuring that ATAS remains relevant, rigorous, and responsive to the evolving needs of the travel industry and consumer expectations.”

“Their strategic advice is crucial in our continuous efforts to refine and enhance ATAS, providing a level of accreditation that travel businesses aspire to achieve and that consumers recognise as a mark of excellence. We thank our new AAC members for agreeing to volunteer their time as part of this very important advisory Committee.”

The new AAC members bring a wealth of experience:

Brett Dann – Founder, CEO, and Managing Director, Hunter Travel Group (HTG)
Brett Dann is the visionary leader of Hunter Travel Group, overseeing a network of 35 travel stores across Australia. His entrepreneurial journey in the travel industry over 40 years has led HTG to become a significant player in the market, providing comprehensive travel services under esteemed brands, driven by a dedication to customer-focused solutions and operational efficiency.

Brett Mitchell – Managing Director, Intrepid ANZ
Hailing from Zimbabwe and Perth, Brett Mitchell directs Intrepid’s ANZ operations, blending his passion for travel with vast experience in finance and sales. Prior to joining Intrepid, Brett lived and worked in London where he successfully led a range of debt raising, IPO and M&A activities for high profile companies on the London Stock Exchange. Brett joined the tourism sector in 2008 and has since been an active Board member on a number of travel associations and forums, helping to drive positive change across the industry.

Chad Carey – Managing Director, Chimu Adventures and Intrepid Polar
Chad Carey, co-founder of Chimu Adventures, has evolved from civil engineering to pioneering travel experiences in South America and Antarctica. In 2004, Chad and his co-founder Greg Carter launched Chimu Adventures which, after almost twenty years of growth, is a leader within the Australian travel industry for travel to South America and Antarctica.

In 2017, Chimu Adventures launched a joint venture with Intrepid Travel to operate the Ocean Endeavour in Antarctica. Chad took on the role as Managing Director for this business unit and now spends his time between the two businesses.

Chad has served on a number of industry bodies including The Australian Travel Association for Latin America, IAATO’s Climate Change Committee, IAATO’s Associate Members Working Group and the Australian Travel Industry Association’s ATAS Advisory Committee.

David Walker – Business Owner, ITC Pacific
With a career spanning over 40 years, David Walker is a seasoned professional in the travel industry. A business owner since 1992, David has been instrumental in guiding ITC Pacific and its major brands to a prominent position in the travel sector.

He brings significant expertise in maintaining best business practices, financial integrity and duty of care and brings a broad knowledge of Travel and its stakeholders and a keen focus on practical accreditation strategy and design. He was Founding Chairman/Board Director of the Student Educational Travel Organisation (SETO), and has held other Board positions with a focus on governance, constitution, and codes of conduct guidelines.

Debra Fox – Managing Director, Abercrombie & Kent Australasia & EVP Sales, Crystal Cruises APAC
Debra Fox is a distinguished leader with extensive experience over 3 decades across retail, touring, cruising, and tourism, particularly in the luxury sector. Deb has held senior roles across Retail in both Agency and Consortia, as well as Touring, Cruising and Tourism segments where her roles held responsibility across major markets globally.  In addition, she was co-founder of The Inspire Collective, a consultancy specialising in travel, tourism, service and experience-based industries with a focus on strategy and organisational development.

As Managing Director of Abercrombie & Kent Australasia and EVP Sales for Crystal Cruises APAC, she drives innovation and strategic growth, underlining her expertise in the global travel market. Previously, Deb has held senior roles including Chief Commercial Officer and Global Head of Sales & Marketing at the APT Travel Group, American Express, Traveland and Thomas Cook.

Gina Norman – General Manager, Travel and Distribution, RAA
Gina Norman brings over three decades of experience to her role as General Manager of Travel and Distribution at RAA. Previously, Gina held a number of senior roles including Nation Leader SA/NT at Flight Centre Travel Group, and Chief Performance Officer at Bedford Group.

Gina’s focus on strategy, operational excellence and consistently motivating her teams to exceed their growth targets has seen her win state, national and global awards for outstanding performance throughout her career.

Ken Morgan – Founder and Director, Two’s a Crowd
Following a successful corporate career in domestic aviation, financial services, telecommunications, and insurance, Ken decided to start his own business in a category he had always been passionate about – travel. He identified the solo traveller market niche (40 years old and above) as a significant opportunity and set about creating the business and developing their points of difference. So, in 2012, Two’s a Crowd took flight.

Ken is also a Director of the Australian Travel Agents Co-operative (ATAC). With 130 independent members, it is Australia’s only co-operative travel agent buying group.

Lauren Gray – General Manager, 1000 Mile Travel Group
Lauren Gray, General Manager of 1000 Mile Travel Group, a global host agency network, boasts a 17-year tenure in the travel industry with a specialisation in corporate travel. Her leadership style promotes a a culture of collaboration, respect, and empowerment, creating a supportive environment where everyone can thrive and grow together. Lauren’s strategic approach drives innovation in customer experiences and successful travel programs. She nurtures customer relationships and empowers travel experts to excel in their businesses.

Scott Darlow – General Manager, Link Travel Group
Scott has had a comprehensive career in travel that has exceed 25 years. After starting out as a travel consultant himself in 1997, he moved into the airline world in 1999 where he spent close to the next 18 years, all of which were sales related and all were travel industry related. The last 10 years in the airline world were in local management at a major international airline where Scott moved through and ran various departments.

Scott made the move back to the agency side of the industry in late 2016 and held senior roles in Magellan Travel Group and also Helloworld Travel once it acquired Magellan. Currently, Scott is the inaugural General Manager of the new invitation only Link Travel Group, a joint venture between Flight Centre Travel Group, The Goldman Group and Spencer Group of Companies.

Steve Hui – Founder, iFLYflat
Steve Hui, ‘The Points Whisperer’ and founder of iFLYflat, is renowned for revolutionising business travel through strategic use of credit card rewards. Since 2011, his specialised travel company has employed data-driven strategies to optimise credit card rewards and frequent flyer points, thus enabling clients to fly Business Class for approximately half-the-standard fares, revolutionising the traditional economics of business class travel.

A graduate of the UNSW with a Bachelor of Commerce, Steve is also a certified CPA Accountant. With an 11-year tenure at Australia’s leading investment bank, Macquarie Bank, Steve observed the financial ingenuity that inspired him to tap into the untapped asset of reward points for cost-effective luxury travel.

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