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Travel agents should apply now for a one-off Covid-19 payment

December 15, 2020 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Applications are now open for travel agents and tour arrangement service providers impacted by Covid-19 to apply for a one-off payment. Waste no time, as the payments will stop if funds are exhausted before the expiry date next March.

“It’s estimated that travel agents have experienced a 90% drop in revenue due to Covid-19,” an Austrade statement said yesterday.

“As businesses operate in exceptional circumstances and continue to hold travel credit for consumers, this payment will ensure the sector’s sustainability for Australian travellers.

“Under the $128 million Covid-19 Consumer Travel Program, eligible businesses will be able to apply for a taxable payment of $1500 for a business with a turnover (gross income) of $50,000 up to $100,000 for a business with a turnover of $20 million.

“Claims will be processed and administered by Services Australia. Applications will be accepted until midnight (AEDT) 13 March 2021 or until funds are exhausted.”

For information on the program guidelines, eligibility and how to apply visit servicesaustralia.gov.au/travelsupportprogram.

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) said yesterday the tailored $128 million support package for travel agents and tour operators has come at a critical time, especially given the ongoing delays to full resumption of international travel.

Parallel to AFTA’s work on the grants support, given the severity of the Covid impact on Australia’s 4000 travel agents and the 40,000 employed in the sector, AFTA has continued to press the case for additional support including JobKeeper 3.0 for the travel industry.

This work will form the basis of AFTA’s pre-Budget submission to be lodged January.

Eligible businesses can lodge applications from now for the one-off grant support via the Services Australia Business Hub. To be eligible, businesses must:

  1. Be a travel agent or tour arrangement service provider;
  2. Be actively incorporated or registered in Australia as at 30 November 2020 with AFTA or other peak bodies;
  3. Have business turnover (gross income) of between $50,000 and $20 million for the 2019 calendar year;
  4. Have been eligible for a JobKeeper fortnight in October (either 28 September 2020 – 11 October 2020 or 12 October – 25 October).

Grants range from $1,500 to $100,000 per entity. Applications will be taken for 3 months.

AFTA chief executive, Darren Rudd, said Australia’s travel agents and tour operators, who had been devastated by the pandemic were “incredibly grateful for this support and for the Government’s responsiveness from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham down in making this grant possible”.

“Given the numerous constructive, collaborative conversations had to date with Government, AFTA hopes this measure is the first of a number of support mechanisms including the tailored evolution of JobKeeper for our sector. As the Prime Minister himself has acknowledged in Question Time recently, travel agents will need ongoing support for some time.

“AFTA looks forward to continuing to work closely with Government and Government agencies to ensure the implementation detail is right and that those travel agencies, tour operators and tour wholesalers who are unable to access funding through corporate debt raising receive the ongoing support they need to stay in business and continue to support their employees, clients and customers.”

Written by Peter Needham

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