The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) says news that Australia is significantly easing COVID requirements for arrivals is fantastic, however, with travelling Australians relying increasingly on travel retailers, Federal Government support is desperately needed for the travel industry.
AFTA says it welcomes the overhaul of testing requirements for inbound travellers and the transition to Rapid Antigen Tests within 24 hours of arrival and reduction of wait time from 14 days to 7 days for those who catch COVID overseas.
The complexities of travel created by COVID in terms of domestic travel and differing requirements across countries mean more and more Australians are turning to travel professionals.
AFTA’s most recent member survey shows 16% of bookings are from new customers who have turned to travel professionals because of the challenges of travel in these times.
Additionally, 52% of bookings are re-using existing credits.
The survey conducted from November 2021 until January 2022 reinforces the anecdotal feedback that consumer and corporate travellers are increasingly reliant on Australia’s travel agents.
“The decision to relax requirements for people coming into Australia will further encourage those Australians looking to travel internationally to do so and, with 70%-plus of international bookings made by Australians happening through travel agents, that’s a very welcome development, said Dean Long, AFTA CEO.
“But, it’s an exhaustingly long runway to recovery for Australia’s travel retailers with international travel not returning to normal until well after mid-2022 and revenue only flowing to our members well after that when travel has actually taken place.”
“There’s still no clear roadmap for cruise re-opening, international and domestic air is and will be significantly constrained for some time and 53% of bookings are using existing credits which require additional support from agents for little revenue,” Long continued.
“We have lost about a third of the highly skilled professionals from our sector and as consumers look to use their credits and make new bookings, we need financial support to rebuild the skills and workforce.”
“Our ask of the Federal Government is simple – please support us so that we can keep supporting travelling Australians.”
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