Peak industry body the Australian Federation of Travel Agents welcomes the ongoing business support measures outlined in last night’s Federal Budget and looks forward to continuing to work with the Government towards the survival of the sector while planning for sector-specific support in the very near future.
AFTA has welcomed the Government’s decision to enact loss carry-back provisions to allow current year losses to be carried back. This was a key recommendation in the AFTA pre-Budget submission.
AFTA has also said that it also supports the increased investment in mental health including suicide prevention, critical for so many sectors in these incredibly difficult times.
“We know our united voices are being heard. We are working with Federal Government on sector-specific support.”
Darren Rudd, AFTA CEO
What’s the story?
From the introduction of the international travel ban on 18 March 2020, many travel agents have experienced at least a 90% fall in revenue and zero income and without tailored government support, a number of these businesses will be forced to close.
Travel agents were the first hit and will be the last to recover from the global pandemic, with recovery only possible once international travel resumes and normalises.
Until this happens, the sector is asking for the first time for Government support in the form of a $125M Federal support package plus State and Territory Government support which AFTA will continue to lobby on.
Agents right now are working tirelessly and have successfully secured $6B on behalf of their customers from airlines, hotels, and tour operators in refunds and credits on CV-impacted travel, but have $4B to still be recovered.
This is work that takes travel agents days and weeks; which they are working for free.
“We will continue to do whatever it takes to persuade our political leaders of the pressing need to help the sector.”
Darren Rudd, AFTA CEO
What are agents saying?
Travel agents are not happy about the announcement and have taken to social media to speak out on the matter.
Agents are saying that the budget “missed the mark on the industries that need it the most”, is “a disgrace” and are feeling “very little hope” for employees of small businesses.
It is clear that Australia travel agents are feeling alone and “disappointed” with the announcement, that doesn’t seem to support small and medium businesses who “through no fault of their own” have suffered the full impact of the lockdowns and border restrictions.
Behind the scenes, AFTA is in negotiations with the government for additional sector support and we expect to be updated as this happens.
READ UPDATE: AFTA: The Door Is Still Open For Financial Support
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