Melbourne based Platinum Travel Director Andy Buerckner appeared on Sky News yesterday, with an impassioned plea to the government to extend JobKeeper and take into account the impact of COVID-19 on travel and the desperate plight the industry now faces.
As the clock ticks apprehensively down towards September 27 and the end of the current JobKeeper program, anxiety levels within the travel industry continue to rise due to the increasing uncertainty around what will happen next if the subsidy scheme is not continued.
One travel industry leader who isn’t just going to sit and wait around to potentially hear more bad news is Platinum Travel Director Andy Buerckner who yesterday appeared live on Sky News.
In a speech just short of two minutes, Mr Buerckner eloquently captured and delivered the hard facts and sentiment of the entire industry with grace and style.
In fact, his impassioned plea was so eloquently delivered live on the big stage, he should probably consider a career in politics too.
Here’s the speech in full.
“With no certainty of any international borders opening or no certainty of timelines, the only certainty we do require is support.
“I’m very grateful for the support we’ve received to date, but frankly, without that support, I would say 98% of travel agencies in Australia would be gone. And that’s talking about Australia only.
“In terms of our story, roughly 25 staff primarily here in Melbourne. And we have a fantastic business and it would be devastating to see so many of our very loyal and loving team be moved aside.
“Nearly a million people are unemployed in Australia at the moment and I’d like to highlight that there are nearly a million people employed in travel and tourism alone.
“40,000 of those are specifically travel agents. Travel agents are responsible for 70% of international departures out of Australia with nearly $64 billion annually.
“I have grave fears for the mental health of people in this industry. It’s largely made up of people who have been working in the industry for 30, 40, even 50 years. And the chance of them being redeployed into other industries, even with transferable skills is limited.”
Andy Buerckner, Platinum Travel Director on Sky News
“I’d like to just make the point that we need more of a spotlight on this industry, specifically. There’s a lot of talk about travel and hospitality, but as much as I hate the word pivot, there is very little chance for the travel industry to pivot into another area.
“Hospitality has the opportunity to look out for takeaways and minimize their operations, but still have incremental revenue.
“For us, we haven’t really had any revenue since March and not only do we not have a runway for future revenue, we’d have to hand back most of our earnings from the last calendar year for departures that have been cancelled and refunded this year.”
Since the Sky News video was posted on our Karryon Together In Travel Facebook Group, the feedback has been overwhelming with so many people thankful to Mr Buerckner for putting himself out there on behalf of the industry.
Already the video has had 16,000 views in under 24-hours.
Speaking about his address, Mr Buerckner said it was: “an honour and privilege to be featured on Sky News today, highlighting the dire situation the travel industry faces. We’re a resilient bunch. We can’t give up, and won’t give up.”
Mr Buerckner’s Sky News appearance follows a hugely popular honest and frank story he wrote last week around mental health in the travel industry.
Thank you, Andy, for your continued leadership and putting yourself out there for the benefit of others.
Share this story