The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has formally announced the cancellation of the awards component of the 2020 National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA), delaying the gala until next year. Instead however, AFTA is planning a “recovery event” for November, subject to “the status of the industry and the COVID-19 situation.”
The annual NTIAs were planned to be conducted on Saturday 18 July at the International Convention Centre, Sydney.
In a statement detailing AFTA’s latest measures to support ATAS agents, CEO Jayson Westbury said hosting the NTIA gala “wouldn’t be right” given the current environment and travel bans.
Among other measures introduced to support travel advisors in Australia, AFTA will:
- drop Membership Fees for the next billing year
- adopt significant austerity measures to reduce outgoings
- primarily focus on industry support and government engagement to secure aid, assistance and reforms over the next six months
- draw down on its investment fund to support critical operational costs for ongoing member support
- switch to a “monitor and support” mode for ATAS accreditation
Further, all monies already outlaid for the 2020 NTIAs (including sponsorship fees and all pre-purchased tickets) will be refunded in coming weeks. AFTA acknowledged nominees who has already invested time to complete their nomination submission and their commitment to the awards.
“These are common sense decisions which will make a real difference to agents and sponsors while ensuring AFTA is able to continue advocating for our members and their customers at this critical time,” Westbury said.
“Quite apart from the financial benefit for agents and our valued NTIA partners at a time when every dollar matters, it just wouldn’t be right to proceed with NTIA at this time,” he explained.
“We will get through this together and with that in mind are planning a recovery party in November and an even bigger and better NTIA 2021.”