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Campaign for ongoing Fed Gov support intensifies

February 24, 2021 Business News No Comments Email Email

The campaign for ongoing Fed Government support including the evolution of JobKeeper for the travel sector continues to intensify.The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has shared the interim results of its Travelsectorkeeper survey with Tourism Minister the Hon Dan Tehan as well as briefing key Government Members ahead of the Liberal and National Party Rooms.

Of the 1513 entity respondents as at Saturday 20 February 2021:

  • 67% are SME retail leisure agencies;
  • 94% are dealing with a decline in revenue of 90% (with 99% experiencing at least a 70% decline);
  • 80% of the workforce of travel agents businesses are women;
  • 81% of all travel businesses’ work is helping customers with COVID-impacted travel;
  • 43% believe they are unlikely to return to profit until 2023.

AFTA’s ask which is also reinforced in the pre-Budget submission continues to be:

  1. The evolution and extension of JobKeeper in a tailored way until one quarter after the international border is liberated;
  2. The allocation of any funds outstanding from the first round of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program via a second program round with an amended payment scale to address issues already identified.

AFTA is working closely with other bodies including CATO, CLIA, TTF, BCA, and ACCI to keep the pressure on and ensure the need for sector support remains at the forefront of political deliberations. This is being achieved through a combination of direct advocacy at a Ministerial, MP, Senator and local level and via strategic media engagement.

Quotes from AFTA CEO Darren Rudd:
“The travel sector is grateful for Government support to date via the Grants Support Program but in this our darkest period, we need ongoing support in a renamed, repurposed JobKeeper equivalent for our sector.”

“Without this, our sector will be disseminated, leaving Australian consumers with nowhere to turn to assist with the estimated $4 Billion in refunds from global airlines, hotels and tour operators. Collapse of our sector will also leave the country without the skill set to support the COVID minefield of travel once the international border is liberated.”

“JobKeeper has been critical in helping travel businesses keep the doors open and support customers with cancellations, refunds and credits and we need Travelsectorkeeper moving forward.”

“The interim survey results reveal some distressing statistics and highlight the critical need for ongoing help. Without it, when JobKeeper ends on March 28, we will see 8 in 10 people still working in travel out of a job, and 3 in 10 businesses having to close with a further 52% uncertain about their future.”

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