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AFTA Pleads For More Agent Support And Border Reopenings

Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) Chair Tom Manwaring and CEO Darren Rudd has told the Senate Select Committee into COVID-19 that on-going tailored support and opening of domestic and international borders is critical for Australia’s travel agencies and its 40,000 employees.

Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) Chair Tom Manwaring and CEO Darren Rudd has told the Senate Select Committee into COVID-19 that on-going tailored support and opening of domestic and international borders is critical for Australia’s travel agencies and its 40,000 employees.

AFTA was amongst a number of tourism-focused organisations appearing as part of a hearing including the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tourism and Transport Forum, Australian Airports Association and the Business Events Council of Australia.

Mr Manwaring and Mr Rudd and covered a range of key priorities for travel agents including the reality of the payment ecosystem including money flow and refund challenges; the devastating revenue reality for agents; the critical need for international travel to resume; and the compelling case for tailored, ongoing financial support and business relief measures for travel agencies.

Speaking to the Senate Select Committee, AFTA CEO Darren Rudd, told the hearing:

“This is a critical time for our sector and unless we all work together, there are many businesses which will not survive. We don’t want that to happen. This is a sector which has spent generations helping Australians get overseas for commerce and culture, family and friends reunions and now it’s time for our society to help them in return.”

“I hope borders are open as soon as possible, not just domestic, but also New Zealand.”

Darren Rudd, AFTA CEO

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Meanwhile, AFTA Chair, Tom Manwaring, was equally passionate in his address, telling the hearing:

“There is a great deal of frustration in travel agents’ businesses because they are family businesses on the threshold of collapse and they need borders open so they can generate cash and business. Failing that it has to be government support.”

Tom Manwaring, AFTA Chair

“It’s a $45 billion business currently going in reverse and 3,000 travel agents and 40,000 jobs depend on it,” He said.

A full copy of the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 public hearing transcript is available here.

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