Local tourism advocate celebrates 25th anniversary of CATO

Peter speaking at the Sydney Hilton CATO event last week.

ONE local tourism advocate was invited as the guest of honour at the Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) in Sydney last week, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the organisation.

Peter Baily, who is also the proud President of the Tea Gardens Hawks Nest Bridge Club, was a founding member and the original Chairman of CATO, way back in 1999, and has been involved in the tourism industry for a long time.

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CATO is a trade association representing the domestic and outbound land-supply sector of the Australian travel industry.

“CATO was founded as an association that looks after outbound tourism from Australia to all parts of the world,” Peter explained.

“The organisation has done a lot of lobbying with the Australian Government, DFAT and the like, and was instrumental in the introduction of Smartraveller.”

Australia was the first country to introduce that service, which came about after the terrorism events of the early 2000s, including the Bali Bombings.”

Peter’s anniversary speech covered the ‘early days’, when tour wholesalers and operators started to work more closely with the Government.

“The industry was not very cohesive, so we helped build it to a state where people recognised it as they do today,” Peter told NOTA.

“Before the terrorism, we never worked with DFAT, so that situation created an industry that works for the better well being of the travelling public – letting Australians travel more safely than they had to previously.”

It is astonishing to think, but even as recently as 30 years ago, Australians would leave for an overseas trip and the only indication their loved ones back home had of their health and status was a letter in the mail.

The massive party at the Sydney Hilton, attended by over 100 tourism industry representatives, also doubled as a birthday party for Peter, who no doubt is loving the bridge-playing scene back in Hawks Nest as much as George Street.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

Current CATO Chairman Dennis Bunnik, Peter Baily, and CATO’s Managing Director Brett Jardine.

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