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INDUSTRY SUPPORT: Government Announces $128m In Travel Agent Funding

The Australian Federal Government has announced that it will support the industry with $128m in funding, under a new rescue package, allowing travel agents to apply for up to $100k in grants.

The Australian Federal Government has announced that it will support the industry with $128m in funding, under a new rescue package, allowing travel agents to apply for up to $100k in grants.

Travel agents will be able to apply for one-off payments worth up to $100,000 under a new rescue package, announced by Trade, Tourism and Finance Minister Simon Birmingham.

The bail-out comes after months of agent and AFTA lobbying and just a week after CATO seized the opportunity to provide the Senator with in-depth information on the complexity and challenges of the travel industry ecosystem.

What’s going on?

agents-in-air

According to a report in The Australian, Trade, Tourism and Finance Minister Simon Birmingham will today unveil the $128m scheme for roughly 3000 to 4000 travel agents with annual turnovers/sales of between $50,000 and $20 million.

Eligible agencies at the lower end of the scale will receive minimum payments of $1500, while the largest travel agents will be able to claim a maximum payment of $100,000.

“This one-off payment recognises that travel agents are operating in an exceptional set of circumstances where most are having to refund last year’s income while continuing to work with no additional income,” Senator Birmingham said.

“Providing further assistance to travel agents in the current environment will help keep them afloat at a time when they are continuing to hold travel credits for consumers who have previously cancelled travel.”

Trade, Tourism and Finance Minister Simon Birmingham

While the scheme is half of what AFTA had initially been asking for, a delighted AFTA chief executive Darren Rudd said the package would help ensure the sector’s sustainability to assist Australians “with the new world of COVID-safe travel”.

Hopefully, this will give agents a much-needed economic boost to help them stay afloat over the next six to nine months, or when travel can safely return to some kind of ‘normal’ once more.

What are agents saying?

travel-agent-globe

This morning, agents took to the Karryon Together In Travel Facebook page to share their thoughts on the news.

“Great news. Let the rebound begin now with a bit more surety!”

Some praised the support with chants of “Bravo”, “Woohoo thank you” and “Hallelujah”. Others said the news is “A great step forward!”.

“Yay! Such good news. We are the only industry that just can’t go and “Get another job“ as we are still working on files paying back money and committed for years with no income once JobKeeper ends.”

Some agents, however, are a little more skeptical about the news, holding out for the fine print.

One agent said “it is such great news all the constant voices have been heard. However, if it’s turnover doesn’t that mean for any agency operating through a host, the host benefits from the high turnover on paper. Not the comm invoiced by the independent agency?”

Another said “I do not wish to appear ungrateful but I thought AFTA had requested $250 million in additional funding. Am I dreaming?”

What do you think? Email us your thoughts at [email protected]

More details to follow.