Accommodation Association (AA) CEO Dean Long has announced his departure from the organisation to take up the reins as Chief Executive at the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA).
The departure of Long, which is expected to happen in October in line with his notice period of three months, comes as the merger between AA and Tourism Accommodation Australia continues to gather pace.
Accommodation Association Chair and Lancemore Group CEO, Julian Clark, said Long had done a great job in is time at the helm.
“The Accommodation Association is very grateful for the strong and strategic leadership Dean has provided during his time as CEO and especially during the unprecedented and extraordinarily difficult challenges that COVID has thrown at accommodation providers since March 2020,” he said.
“In our industry’s time of greatest need it has been fantastic to have Dean at the helm steering the ship and liaising with government on an ongoing basis.
“Dean has been tireless in his role and his support of the sector and Accommodation Association members. He also leaves a strong legacy in terms of a much strengthened team.
“We thank him for his contribution and know that he will always be a champion of Australia’s accommodation sector,” Clark said.
He told HM that advocacy and member services will continue with the normal effectiveness, particularly ensuring the sector’s need for support during COVID.
Long said his time as CEO of the Accommodation Association “has been both extremely rewarding and challenging thanks to COVID-19 restrictions, border closures and travel bans”.
“This is a sector full of wonderful, generous people and businesses and never has this been more on show than via the fact that so many hotels and team members stepped in very early on to support the Government’s COVID Isolation Program and through it returning Australians, frontline medical staff, and some of the most vulnerable in our community,” he said.
“These teams and properties have continued to provide this important support quietly, behind the scenes and despite little thanks. It’s this commitment to going above and beyond that makes this sector so very special.”
“I am also very grateful for the ongoing support and leadership of the Accommodation Association Board.”
AFTA Chair, Tom Manwaring, said the organisation was excited to have Long onboard.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better choice than Dean Long given his background across key sectors, his extensive experience within AFTA, and his expertise and networks across government at all levels,” he said. “He is strategic, informed and proven in his ability to lead and strengthen member-based organisations during challenging times.
“He well and truly knows our sector and the needs of AFTA’s members as we work together to navigate the current frustrations, secure and optimise Government support and continue to reinforce the value of travel agents and businesses at an economic, employment and consumer support level.
“He has a well-deserved reputation of collaboration to maximise impact and outcomes and that’s exactly what we need now and into the future.”
It marks a return to AFTA for Long, who was formerly Head of Public Policy and Strategic Partnerships from 2014-2018, prior to joining American Express as National Strategic Acquisition Manager and the Accommodation Association.