Thu, February 21, 2019 5:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) has today delivered a successful event focused on Crisis Management to nearly one hundred attendees.

CATO Members and Guests heard from Leann Johnston, Director of Crisis Management & Contingency Planning at Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs followed by a range of experts on crisis management including communications, legal, insurance, leadership and planning.

Major sponsor RiskLogic opened the event by putting to the audience that “for most organisations it is not ‘Business as Usual‘, so why are the leadership team expected to manage a crisis as part of their normal duties?” The session went on to address the question – what does Crisis Ready Look Like? 

The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade is Australia’s front line when it comes to major international incidents including consular, humanitarian and security crises. In the second session for the day attendees were given an in-depth look into the role of DFAT from preparatory work through to support for Australians when travelling overseas.

Session three was a panel of high profile communications experts that included Robyn Sefiani, Founder, Executive Chairman & Reputation Counsel, Sefiani; Jill Collins, Managing Director, Barking Owl Communications and Cara Mygind, Director Communications & Government Affairs, SPG. The panel confirmed how in the event of a crisis, an effective public relations plan is critical and how appropriate communications will go a long way to protect an organisations reputation and often their survival.

Legal concerns arise prior to, during and following a crisis - be it from a customer liability perspective during travel or exposure to suppliers due to cancellations because of a crisis event. In the fourth session of the day Aaron Zoanetti from Pointon Partners provided a legal perspective around the sort of planning required to ensure that your business (a) meets its duties of care to its customers and (b) mitigates commercial risks which may flow from a crisis event through effective legal documentation.

Prior to lunch guests were educated on the value of appropriate insurance coverage by Gow Gates Director Specialty, Fred Esteban. This session looked at how to avoid a financial crisis where an incident is out of your control and what happens following an incident where a policy is triggered.

Author, speaker and leader, Major Garth Callender has lived and managed some of the most extreme crises across the globe following twenty years in the Australian army. He delivered an emotional presentation based on his first-hand experience on how the impact of a crisis can be minimised by well-prepared teams and effective leadership.

A key ingredient in international travel is healthy airline partners that are exceptionally well prepared in the event of an incident. AFTA CEO, Jayson Westbury interviewed former Qantas executive Steve Limbrick where they confirmed an airline crisis is not limited to the brand involved. It was agreed our entire industry could be impacted and attendees were given a clear picture of the extraordinary depth of preparation that goes into ensuring stability within the airline sector and flow on effect to all industry participants.

In the closing session, delegates were given a wrap of the day by Dr David Beirman and provided a template for attendees to confidently develop their own crisis management plan.

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