Travel Agents

ABS stats only hint at employment carnage experienced by agencies, says AFTA chief

Concerning stats released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) only hint at the current and future employment carnage across travel agencies, according to the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA).

The ABS released a new set of statistics on Thursday outlining the heavier impact of COVID-19 and the January bushfires had on the travel industry compared with the overall economy.

The data comes from the Tourism Satellite Account: tourism labour statistics, which track the health of the tourism sector over the year to March 2020 and capture the impact of the crises.

It shows that the impact of the bushfires and the beginning of COVID-19 alone cost the sector 21,900 jobs – 74 per cent of which were full-time positions. This is the largest-ever fall recorded by the ABS since tracking of tourism jobs began in 2004.

The number of filled jobs in the tourism industry fell three per cent between March 2019 and March 2020, while economy-wide filled jobs grew by 1.7 per cent

AFTA chief executive Darren Rudd said that, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel agents operated close to 3,000 locations nationally and employed 40,000 Australians.

A recent AFTA member survey showed 98 per cent of AFTA’s member travel agents have seen revenues drop by 90 per cent and more as a result of the pandemic.

“These ABS quarterly stats reflect the fact that tourism has been harder hit than the wider economy,” Rudd said.

“However, we know from our member agents that while JobKeeper has been a very welcome lifeline to keep travel consultants working, this situation has already worsened significantly since March.

“AFTA continues to work closely and collaboratively with government and across the business community to find the best path forward that will allow things to start returning to normal while accommodating the necessary health measures.”

On top of pushing for additional support, AFTA is campaigning for the introduction of travel bubbles.

“Only three countries in the world have completely closed their borders: India, New Zealand and Australia,” Rudd said.

“While we understand the health rationale, we need to find a way forward by working together to end this commercial and cultural discrimination and get us travelling again.”

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

One response to “ABS stats only hint at employment carnage experienced by agencies, says AFTA chief”

  1. Despite all the recent challenges, it might be a blessing in disguise for AFTA to have this opportunity to be looking into unfinished issues, ranging from an immediate need to find ways to soften the tension between a growing number of disgruntled customers and the agents over cancellation fees (I suggested a shared liability approach given that both travel agents and their clients are victims of this pandemic destruction) to a much bigger challenge leading the industry recovery initiatives post-COVID-19 from a “clean” perspective.
    Perhaps it is timely for AFTA to review the fundamental structure of its constitution and see if it still maps to its organizational goals of today. Working under the constraints of a staged release, the idea of secluding itself under the outbound (and some domestic) market banner alone might not give adequate commercial security or an ability to reach out for other opportunities for our outbound travel agents community, particularly for those at the lower end of the ladder. So, is it time now to rethink if AFTA, ATEC, and CATO type of organizations could come together under one industry peak body umbrella while retaining each of the sub-sectoral service specialty within each sub-sector like some other countries? Why is it so unique for us in Australia to house these sectors in their own castles? Is it a fear of dilution of the controlling power? Wouldn’t that give a collective strength to negotiate with suppliers, governments, etc., domestically and internationally for a better outcome? Wouldn’t it more productive especially at times like now to be dealing with broader policy issues relating to consumer affairs? Wouldn’t be a more cost-effective usage of front line and back-office staff? lastly, wouldn’t it more effective for the consumer engagement if inbound, outbound, and domestic markets under the same umbrella? It might sound like a bridge too far, but there was a time when AFTA, ATEC, and CATO were all together under one roof (except the Cruise sector which has always been quite distinctive) for a good reason and it worked well until each one started building its own territory. As there is an urgent need to recover from the COVID aftermath, a collaborative approach might be worthwhile considering to see how synergies can be drawn from one another among the outbound, inbound and, domestic sectors (and Cruise) for the betterment of our travel & tourism industry.

    Regards,
    Kenton Aldrige

Leave a Reply

Tourism

Ardent Leisure hit with record $3.6m fine over Dreamworld tragedy

Ardent Leisure has been handed what it has described as “the largest fine in Queensland history for a workplace tragedy”.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Aviation Wrap: Virgin Australia sale update, United makes COVID-19 tests available to customers + MORE

It’s been a landmark week for carriers near and far. Lucky for you, our Aviation Wrap continues to keep you abreast of the latest in this space.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tourism Australia reminds international travellers what’s waiting for them with incredible new ‘8D’ videos

These incredible new vids could also come in handy for agents looking to woo some domestic clients.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

TravelManagers helps Victorian agents find temp work

A group of TravelManagers agents have found an alternative way to earn money during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a little help from the network’s national partnership office.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

South Australia is giving away 200 return flights (and some holiday packages) to NSW travellers

In celebration of South Australia easing restrictions to NSW travellers, 200 return airfares and a handful of holiday packages are up for grabs.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Corporate Travel Management emerges from trading halt with big acquisition

Jamie Pherous has reason to smile after CTM announced it has caught a very big fish.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Sun seekers will adore these Malaysian islands of Terengganu

by Sponsored by Tourism Malaysia

Along with drawing locals in for its culture and cuisine, Terengganu’s secluded islands and beaches are a paradise for sun seekers. Here’s all you need to know about this lesser-known Malaysian state.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Luxury floating hotel docked at Sydney’s Palm Beach burns down

In sad news for those looking for a luxe stay at Sydney’s northern beaches, this floating hotel was “irreparably damaged” when a fire recently broke out on board.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Man charged after joking his cousin had a bomb on Auckland flight

Unsurprisingly, it is STILL a bad idea to joke about bombs when you are boarding a plane, just in case anyone was wondering. We hope you weren’t.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Aussie food suppliers jump on board calls for resumption of cruising

Aussies farmers, beverage companies, transport providers and all the others who fill cruise ships and land excursions with all those delicious goodies have banded together to support the cruise industry.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Destination Wrap: LA launches trade page, Spanish tourism board’s new Australian director + MORE

In the dark after a weekend away from travel news? Check back in with this breakdown of the latest destination updates.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Regional tourism receives $250 million cash injection

The government has given regional tourism operators a reason to jump for joy this morning, and caused two industry associations to give such an aggressive thumbs up that they are both now suffering from pulled muscles in their hands.

Share

CommentComments