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National Travel Day of Action: Use your voice to call for support

Travel industry business owners and workers are coming together today in what will be known as the 'National Travel Day of Action', calling on federal and state politicians to support the devastated sector.

Travel industry business owners and workers are coming together today in what will be known as the ‘National Travel Day of Action’, calling on federal and state politicians to support the devastated sector.

Alarmed and angered by the decimation of the travel industry, business owners and workers today fanned out across the country conducting a National Travel Day of Action outside the offices of key federal and state parliamentarians. 

All participants are speaking up and taking their message directly to political leaders that the travel industry, like other sectors in the economy, should be allowed to trade normally free of job-killing restrictions. 

They are calling for the lifting of travel and cruise bans, which are crippling their businesses, and demanding the urgent introduction of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents’ Travel Sector Skills Retention and Recovery Package. 

Campaign convenors, Belle Goldie, owner of the itravel Penrith agency in western Sydney and Dan Russell, general manager of Brisbane-based Clean Cruising, said the travel sector was now well beyond crisis point. 

Dan_Russell_CleanCruising
Dan Russell, Clean Cruising

“After two hard years of devastation; travel agents, tour operators and travel-related businesses can no longer remain silent. They need to inform parliamentarians of the cold hard facts of the dire straits they now find themselves in,” Dan Russell said. 

“Many travel businesses have already collapsed and so many more are at risk of going under with even more job losses. We face the loss of an entire generation of skilled travel professionals, which is why adoption of AFTA’s skills retention and recovery package is so vital.”

“Job Keeper and sector support have just kept the industry afloat, but we are concerned that further support won’t be forthcoming. We’ve lost all our young employees and those who are left are the business owners and experienced staff with decades in their roles.

“Their legacy skills will be even more vital in helping Australians safely navigate domestic and international travel again. Considering the travelling public are still sitting on over $8B in travel credits, this cannot be put at further risk.”

together in travel

Belle Goldie said the personal toll on people in the travel and tourism sector including their financial and mental health was horrendous and becoming worse. She was only months away from having to abandon her 22-year commitment to fulfilling the dreams of travel-addicted Australians. 

“I would rather go down fighting and speaking up than see my business, in which I’ve invested my family’s life savings, die slowly and silently on its knees,” Belle Goldie said.

“When I started in travel, I never imagined that one day I would be among middle-income earners having to accept charity or having to worry about feeding my children. But my story isn’t special. I know of at least 15 to 20 other agency owners in a similar predicament.”

“We fear that the travel bans will be extended and pushed out until after the Federal Election, which would have a completely devastating impact on every business that is part of the travel eco-system and associated industries that many of us rely on to survive.”

Today’s National Travel Day of Action is the result of a grassroots movement involving hundreds of travel agents and travel-related businesses. A Facebook page devoted to the campaign — Aussie Travel Action Group — within days attracted more than fifteen hundred followers. 

“This pandemic is not going to go on forever but nor are the businesses that once comprised Australia’s vital travel and tourism sector,” Belle Goldie said.

“We find ourselves in the invidious position of having to wait for federal and state governments to give us the green light to operate our businesses. The extension of the cruise ban without even the hope of a restart plan is a particular concern because so many businesses including mine depend on it.”