AFTA and the ACCC have teamed up to bring updates that offer advice and guidance to consumers on their rights in relation to cancellations caused by COVID-19 restrictions.
Increased engagement between The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) and The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has seen updates to the ACCC website that provide consumers with more useful information to help manage expectations around COVID travel restrictions.
AFTA CEO, Darren Rudd said: “We are very pleased to see the ACCC have now updated their website with key additions that will assist travel agents by providing consumers with a more balanced and realistic approach to manage their travel, particularly in terms of refunds.”
“In supporting our agents through this difficult time it is critical consumers are being provided with the right information and updates. We are confident the updates on the ACCC website will help manage expectations around COVID travel bookings and refunds moving forward.”
Darren Rudd, AFTA CEO
Australian travel agencies have been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
70% of international travel in Australia is booked through travel agents keeping money in Australia and generating taxes to benefit the Australian economy. Prior to COVID, the industry has experienced year on year growth of 11% and maintained growth of 7.25% over the past five years.
However, with the global pandemic closing international and domestic borders, roughly 60% of the industry has been put out of work, indefinitely.
Travel agents, often working long hours for free, have successfully repatriated $6 billion in refunds and credits from overseas airlines, hotels, and tour operators for their customers – but there is still $4 billion outstanding.
AFTA has announced it will be hosting a special webinar for members with
Delia Rickard from the ACCC.
The interactive webinar, which will take place in February or March 2021, will be an opportunity for AFTA/ATAS members to hear from the ACCC as well as provide feedback and discuss any concerns.
The updated information on the ACCC website can be found at the link here.
The ACCC has also added a new question advising consumers what they should do before booking travel which is available at this link here.
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