Travel agency boss says Tracy Grimshaw 'needs to be given a firm uppercut or a good slap in the face'

Marni Dixit
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

A travel industry boss has hit out at Tracey Grimshaw after she reported on a travel industry refund scandal on A Current Affair.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the head of Australia's peak body for travel agents said on a webinar that Tracey "needs to be given a firm uppercut or a slap across the face".

Tracy Grimshaw has been slammed by travel boss Jayson Westbury over her reporting of the travel industry on A Current Affair. Photo: Nine

Jayson Westbury, Chief Executive of Australian Federation of Travel Agents, made the comments in a since-deleted video, while speaking about how the negative publicity surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and the travel industry was being addressed.

He told stakeholders: "I won’t ever be watching it (Channel 9's ACA) again. I think that Tracy Grimshaw needs to be given a firm uppercut or a slap across the face, and I mean that virtually, of course, I wouldn’t want to invoke (sic) any violence on anyone."

"But, I mean, some of the behaviour and some of the language that’s being used on that program is just outrageous."

Jayson Westbury said some of the behaviour and language used on ACA "outrageous". Photo: AAP

The video, which was originally published on YouTube and the AFTA website, was swiftly taken down.

Mr Westbury went on to say that "the best thing to do for A Current Affair is just to stop watching."

"That way you’ll stop worrying. I’ve personally boycotted it, won’t be ever watching it again."

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the travel industry to come to a standstill with many people looking for refunds as it became obvious those plans will no longer go ahead.

However, some customers have found it difficult to get their money back with many travel agencies either refusing the refunds or offering credit notes only.

A Current Affair covered a story last week about a family who was refused a refund by STA Travel for a three-week holiday to the US, leaving them thousands of dollars out of pocket.

There are now calls for Mr Westbury to step down over the comments, which have angered many people on social media.

The Older Women’s Network took to Facebook to share their thoughts on the matter, writing: "He said publicly in a seminar to travel agents that 'Tracy Grimshaw needs to be given a firm uppercut or a good slap across the face.' Then he said he meant it 'virtually'. Virtually or not, that is 100% unacceptable. As the industry's leader, he is paid to represent the interests of travel agents. Unless they support violence against women, this man has to be stood down. We deplore violence against women in any way, shape or form."

Many others have called him "disgraceful".

Mr Westbury shared an update on the AFTA website, saying the recent update from Prime Minister Scott Morrison involving the three new levels of easing restrictions means travel will likely be off the cards for some time.

He wrote, "As such, and it is to be expected, consumers will continue to look to cancel trips and request refunds. And so it continues like death by a thousand cuts as the travel industry continues to deal with these very ridged travel restrictions."

Mr Westbury added that while there have been some indications that intrastate and interstate travel may be allowed in coming months, there is no "reliable statement by any government neither federal or state, about if this is to be the case".

He finished: "Each week we watch and wait for crumbs of hope and happiness during these difficult and frustrating times but the one good thing is that we are closer to the end than when this first started.

"Prepare for more cancellations and refunds, start planning for selling domestic trips and hope that we might be allowed off the island (Australia) for Christmas."

Yahoo Lifestyle has contacted Channel Nine and the AFTA for comment.

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