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Feel like contacting your MP directly? Maybe hold back

May 29, 2020 Headline News No Comments Email Email

If you feel like writing a letter to your MP to get your feelings across regarding the current situation affecting travel agents – perhaps don’t. 

That’s the message from AFTA, which is trying to maintain a single voice on the issue.

“We are fighting on multiple fronts and we want to make sure that our message does not get diluted or confused,” Tom Manwaring, chair of AFTA, explained yesterday.

“Writing a letter to your MP might make you feel good, but it may in fact be counterproductive to AFTA’s efforts and may not assist with the process at this late stage.”

AFTA is urging the travel industry to speak with a single voice to maximise the potential for ongoing government support to the travel agency industry.

The federation points out is has been working closely with government since the start of the pandemic to:

  • Highlight the economic hit travel agents have taken, the problems agents are facing and the unique situation agents are in;
  • Reinforce the critical importance of travel agents to the tourism sector and the Australian economy;
  • Push for Government support including financial assistance.

AFTA has produced a number of detailed submissions to Treasury in partnership with KPMG, as part of this ongoing lobbying. It expects to lodge a final paper, formally putting the travel industry’s case for a JobKeeper extension, next Tuesday.

The AFTA board is concerned that a grassroots email campaign from tour operators and agents, targeting local parliamentarians, may derail AFTA’s hard work at a critical time.

AFTA is asking agents to channel their energy to the AFTA sentiment survey, HERE, which it says will reinforce of AFTA’s case for additional government support, including the extension of the eligibility of JobKeeper.

“Treasury and Government have made it very clear that they need hard facts and data to determine the expansion of eligibility for JobKeeper,” Manwaring said.

“This is why we have invested time and resources in partnering with KPMG to provide the level of detail necessary.

“This lobbying has been underway since the start of the pandemic with the AFTA team advocating since late January on the need for Government support for travel agents and our sector. It’s a complex and detailed interaction and it takes time.”

Edited by Peter Needham

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