Qatar left sidebar revised 7 Jun
Qatar right sidebar revised 7 Jun

CATO: Outbound Travel Is In Limbo, So Where's The Roadmap?

In response to this week’s Federal Budget, the Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO), is calling on the Federal Government to provide certainty to the travel supply sector, as international border openings are further delayed, to ensure the sustainability of the sector.

In response to this week’s Federal Budget, the Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO), is calling on the Federal Government to provide certainty to the travel supply sector, as international border openings are further delayed, to ensure the sustainability of the sector.

Australia’s outbound travel sector forms a critical part of the overall travel and tourism ecosystem.

The majority of travel product developed is for overseas holidays but the land-supply sector underpinned 40,000 travel industry jobs in Australia, playing an integral role in the success of aviation into and out of Australia.

It is fully complementary to Australia’s inbound tourism sector and delivers AU$20 Billion in economic impact.

CATO says its members are currently responsible for over AU$5 Billion in consumer future travel credits held with overseas suppliers.

Without CATO members these funds could be lost with devastating consequences for Australian travellers and the travel agency community.

“CATO members represent the backbone of Australian outbound travel and their expertise and skills are essential to enable Australians to travel safely when borders eventually reopen. It is crucial that they are supported to ensure their survival, as the border closures are extended,” says CATO Managing Director, Brett Jardine.

Brett Jardine ABC
Brett Jardine, CATO Managing Director

Without any further government funding, CATO says there will also be an additional impact on employment within the tourism industry, which has decreased significantly since the pandemic began.

CATO is calling for the Federal Government to:

  • Develop a clear roadmap for the safe opening of Australia’s international borders
  • Provide certainty for adequate financial support to ensure business survival and retention of critical skilled staff whilst borders remain closed
  • Provide revenue contingent government-issued loans for CATO members to ensure business survival. Current loan schemes through banks are not working for travel industry businesses due to government and bank policies.
  • Recognise support for larger travel businesses that will lead to recovery through employment and marketing spend

CATO says its members welcome the previous Travel Consumer Support Program funding, that has supported existing businesses, plus the half-price airfare initiative that has boosted domestic travel.

Approximately 50% of CATO members now offer some domestic product however the volumes are not sufficient to guarantee business survival.

A pivot to domestic travel is not an option for the remaining CATO members who have expertise in providing safe travel and unique skills in specialist international destinations.

CATO members design, create, market and deliver the travel experiences sold online and through travel agencies that enable Australians to explore the world and return home safely.

 For more information on CATO go to www.cato.travel