A third round of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program has been confirmed by the federal government which will offer a total of $75.5 million in support to travel agents and tour arrangement service providers.
The announcement comes after two years of public lobbying and campaigning from the travel sector at large and is a resounding win for an industry still only taking its first steps on the post-pandemic recovery journey.
The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) says that Australia’s travel industry has had revenue falls of over 90 per cent since the international travel ban two years ago, resulting in 15,000 professional jobs, a third of the sector, being lost.
It’s estimated that up to $6 billion worth of outbound credits for COVID-impacted travel are in the system that travel advisors and tour companies are currently managing on behalf of Australians.
The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) and Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) said they applaud the decision which will provide much-needed support for travel professionals and businesses across Australia supporting outbound and inbound tourism.
Commenting on the news, AFTA CEO Dean Long said, “It is critically important that these funds are distributed quickly to those eligible businesses and we believe the revised eligibility framework will facilitate that. Australians travelling are relying on their travel professionals now more than ever and this financial support is needed to start the process of rebuilding including replacing the 15,000 highly skilled people lost across Australia due to the financial devastation of COVID-restrictions and travel bans.”
CATO Managing Director Brett Jardine said “This will continue to be a challenging 6-12 months ahead for our sector as revenues are not realised until travel takes place, and businesses will be required to honour their commitment to delivering on travel credits.
“With this funding support, businesses can now start to invest as they rebuild, re-employ and retain staff in the industry, and put in place processes to ensure Australians are able to travel safely and with confidence.”
“Our key focus as an Association during the past two years has been to continually advocate for the much-needed support for our members, to all levels of Government. As a wider industry, our close collaboration with AFTA, CLIA, and ATEC has elevated and addressed the concerns of the industry further to Government and the Media.”
How do you apply for round three?
- You must be an accredited and affiliated travel advisor or tour arragment service.
- Maximum grants of up to $90,000, with a minimum of $7,500 and pro-rated payouts available under Round Three for partial year operations.
- Round Three grant applications will be assessed based on eligible turnover and reference period under Round Two and/or the multi-outlets scheme.
- Applications for Round three open 29 March and close 20 April 2022.
- Round Three guidelines will be available before the round opens.
Find out more at austrade.gov.au/australian/tourism/grants
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