Peter is Head of Sales at Globus Family of Brands, and was recently elected to the CATO Board for the first time. In this quick Q&A, he takes a look at the role CATO and tour operators will play as the industry emerges from the COVID pandemic, and his quest to see a blue footed booby.
What was your first 'travel' job, and where does your passion for travel come from?
Working in reservations for a different tour operator. My grandfather was a great traveller and his stories inspired me to see the world. Once I graduated from a teaching degree at Uni, I spent the next year and a half travelling and never came back to teaching. I was bitten.
What are you most looking forward to delivering, influencing or achieving during your time on the CATO Board?
The Globus family of brands (GFOB) is a major player in the region and I would like to add GFOB’s voice to the table as a respected and long-term operator. I look forward to working together with the other board members to create opportunity, guidance and a strong voice for Australian tour operators.
Image: Peter with a baby gator in Louisiana
CATO is the peak representative body for the Australian travel industry's land supply sector, what role do you see it playing in the local industry's recovery from the global covid-19 shutdown?
I believe CATO plays an intrinsic role in promoting the land sector amongst the trade and I look forward to leveraging my experience and relationships to help CATO support our industry to recover.
The role of CATO is especially relevant in a post COVID world where consumers need to feel comfortable and secure to make bookings and the CATO badge can contribute to instilling that confidence. We can also help to educate both trade and consumers about the benefits of touring from a health and safety perspective and inspire them with the range of experiences touring can offer.
CATO Members create and supply travel product to Australia's retail travel networks, what role will those members play in helping retail find its feet again?
Retail travel agents play a vital role in this market in terms of providing consumers with choice of product that best suit their clients’ requirements. CATO represents such a broad cross section of land suppliers which will fulfill this need for choice of quality operators.
How can CATO strengthen its relationship with travel agents even more deeply, to ensure things are beneficial for everyone on the other side COVID-19?
Training is key, both to update experienced agents and to train new ones on the benefits of booking a tour. If we give travel agents the tools and confidence to better sell touring this helps us as the operator and gives agents the invaluable product knowledge that they need. This is especially relevant in helping agents gain an understanding of the health and safety protocols that we all adhere to and have been updating regularly during this time
Fundamentally, how changed will tourism be when international borders re-open and people start moving again? Will the travel experiences created and operated by the Globus family of brands, for example, be noticeably different?
The pent-up demand to travel is massive. Once it is safe to travel, I think we are going to see people travelling in record numbers. At GFOB, we want to keep delivering the stress-free holidays we’re known for so have introduced a worldwide assurance program which will protect the health and safety of our guests. The program looks at travel protocols and procedures, including reduced ship and tour capacities, mandatory health checks for all staff and guests, new cleaning technologies and increased hands-free facilities.
If you could travel to any place on the planet right now, where would it be?
I was planning to travel to the Galapagos and Peru in May on Monograms with my wife. I would love to be able to rebook that trip. The blue footed booby and Machu Pichu will still be there when the situation changes. I can’t wait to jump on a ridiculously long set of flights and see it all for myself.