The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has said today it welcomes the Morrison-McCormack Government’s commitment to working with industry to ensure the $130 million extension to the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program helps as many travel agents and businesses as possible.
In a media release sent on Friday 12 March, AFTA said it welcomes the “Government’s commitment to ongoing collaboration on adjustments to the now $258 million Program.”
Under the first $128 million Consumer Travel Support program launched on December 14, 2020, eligible travel agents and tour arranging service businesses were able to apply for a one-off taxable payment of up to $100,000.
AFTA remains upbeat and says they will continue to work closely with the Government to refine the implementation of the program so that those travel businesses that most need support receive it.
“This package, which provides a further $130 million in targeted industry support to travel agents, wholesalers and inbound tour operators is an important lifeline to help get agents and travel businesses through the next three months while vaccines roll out and Australia prepares to open its borders again.” Said AFTA CEO Darren Rudd.
“JobKeeper has been a lifeline for so many businesses, small, medium and large, and we thank the Morrison-McCormack Government for that. With revenue drops across most travel businesses of more than 90% and many cases close to 100%, this will help bridge the gap between now and when international travel resumes.”
Darren Rudd, AFTA CEO
“Travel agents continue to work on the repatriation of over $4billion in outstanding credits and refunds for Australians and are looking forward to rebuilding and restoring the industry over the year ahead,
“We look forward to working with the Government on the design parameters of this lifeline to ensure a fair and equitable distribution across the many thousands of impacted businesses in our sector around the country. We thank the Coalition Government for its ongoing commitment and support and for the commitment to working with industry to refine the conditions and make the necessary adjustments to the program.”
AFTA is also calling for travel agents to be used in booking the 800,000 half-price government subsidised airline seats announced yesterday.
“The fact is right now people can’t travel overseas and there are many wonderful destinations in Australia that are struggling due to a total lack of international visitors. Encouraging Australians to holiday this year at home is critical to the livelihoods of so many businesses and this initiative will go a long way to helping secure the future of many of those businesses and the families they support.” Said Darren Rudd.
“The one thing we would ask is that the Government and the airlines ensure that travel agents can also book these discounted fares for their customers through the normal GDS platforms that they use day in day out. That is critical to agents and will also help maximise the value of the land portion booked alongside these discounted airfares.” He said.
Details of the Consumer Travel Support Program extension can be found here.
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