Africa Travel Week
Redefining the value of the travel agent

ATW Podcast

WEBINAR: Redefining the value of the travel agent

What are the after-effects of COVID-19 on the travel agent?

In this webinar, we explore the value proposition of the travel agent in a new world. We listen to the experts. ASATA CEO, Otto de Vries, Business Manager Maritime Travel, Rachael Penaluna and Leader Customer Experience Team for the Flight Centre Travel Group, Lynette Machiri tell us their first-hand experiences.

Meet our panelists:

Natalia Rosa – CEO, Big Ambitions

Natalia Rosa is the CEO of Big Ambitions, a specialist travel and tourism communications and marketing organisation. Exceptionally well connected within the tourism and travel sectors in South Africa, Natalia is a communications, marketing and PR expert in the industry and has first-hand experience of retail travel, wholesale travel, destination marketing, inbound and outbound tourism, and leisure and corporate travel. 

Otto de Vries – CEO, ASATA

Otto de Vries is the CEO of ASATA (Association of Southern African Travel Agents), past Chairman of the World Travel Agents Association Alliance (WTAAA) and a Board member of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA).

He has been active in the travel industry for 35 years, 25 of those in senior management roles in the inbound, retail and wholesale sectors.

He is a WTAAA delegate to the IATA Passenger Agency Global Joint Council (PAPGJC) and currently Chairs the WTAAA Air Committee and the TBCSA Audit and Risk Committee. Through the PAPGJC he has participated on a number of committees and working groups, including the steering group on NDC Thought Leadership, the Transparency in Payment Advisory Group, the IATA ADM Working Group, the Risk Management Working Group and the Airline Distribution Advisory Forum. 

Rachael Penaluna – Business Manager, Maritime Travel

I have been in the travel industry for 33 years and consider myself fortunate in that at this stage of my career I have experienced every aspect of the travel business in my everyday working life. 

I started out as a Junior Consultant in 1989 and later took a position as a Sales and Marketing Manager for the same company I started my career with. 

An opportunity provided by Now Media and an online journalism course has enabled me to research, interview and write travel articles from an agent’s perspective as a Freelance Travel Journalist. Problem-solving and new ideas have been easier to implement. Knowing the right people in the right places and taking time to research trends that impact the travel environment has definitely had a positive impact on the way I run my business. 

A move to Port Elizabeth in 2012 gave me the opportunity to manage my own travel agency and all aspects of our travel business.  It has been a massive learning curve, ensuring the well-being of the business, our reputation and responsibility for staff and profitability.  

Lynette Machiri – Leader Customer Experience Team, Flight Centre Travel Group

Lynette Machiri’s career in travel started in 2013 when she joined Virgin Atlantic Airways as part of the Reservations team. She joined Flight Centre Travel Group in 2017, then as a Customer Care Consultant and have been leading the Customer Experience team since April this year. 

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.