Travel Agents

AFTA and CLIA welcome WA government’s $3m support package for travel agents

Western Australian travel agents will be able to access support from a new $3 million state government fund to help sustain their businesses as they deal with the impacts of COVID-19.

Funded by the WA government’s COVID-19 Industry Support Fund, the program is the first and only dedicated support program in the country for agents.

The initial rollout of the program will provide packages of up to $5,000 to eligible home-based agents and minimum $10,000 packages to eligible brick-and-mortar businesses.

The state’s Small Business Minister, Paul Papalia, said travel agents have been one of the industries most impacted by COVID-19, with up to 90 per cent of their income drawn from Western Australians travelling overseas.

“The federal government’s international border closures will continue to severely impact these businesses for some time to come,” he said.

“The state government recognises the important work local agents have been doing to refund customers’ travel credits and vouchers from airlines, hotels and tourism companies right around the world.

“This support fund is designed to provide some assistance to travel agents to maintain their operating expenses until the federal government devises a longer-term solution.”

To be eligible, agents must be legitimate small businesses with a current registered Australian Business Number (as of 20 March 2020), and have experienced a 75 per cent or greater reduction in turnover due to the impact of COVID-19.

Applications for the support package open on Friday 2 October and close at 5pm on Friday 30 October, with the state government’s Small Business Development Corporation to contact WA agents direct with information on how to apply.

Agents who have not been contacted by Wednesday 23 September are asked to email tasp@smallbusiness.wa.gov.au.

The program is in addition to the WA government’s existing COVID-19 support measures for small businesses, such as commercial tenancy laws to protect small businesses from the impacts of the pandemic.

Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) chief executive Darren Rudd thanked the WA government for what he described as a “critically important initiative”.

“Travel agents have effectively been locked down from day one of the pandemic as a result of international border closures and will be the last to recover,” he said.

“Each and every travel agent in WA and around Australia has been hit by revenue falls of 90 per cent and more. Despite this, they continue to work hard to support their customers.

“So far, a massive $6 billion dollars has been successfully repatriated by travel agents from airlines, hotels, and tour operators to customers. There’s still $4 billion to be worked through. This is an arduous, time-consuming process.”

Rudd said the new support package is important recognition of this work.

“AFTA has been working closely with all governments at all levels including in WA to make sure they understand the need for immediate, tailored support,” he said.

“I also want to acknowledge the tremendous effort of local travel agents who have been tireless in putting their case.

“Christine Ross-Davies of Attadale Travel & Snow Travel Experts and Jo-Anne Francis of Global Travel Solutions deserve particular acknowledgment for their extraordinary efforts.”

AFTA chief Darren Rudd

AFTA’s boss said agents right across Australia are being proactive in taking their needs to government in what is “their darkest hour”.

“This is the first time that agents have sought help,” Rudd said.

“They have successfully navigated many challenges before that have impacted travel, but this is a situation like no other and without tailored support, the situation is dire.

“We are confident that, increasingly, government understands this.”

The Cruise Lines International Association’s Australasian managing director, Joel Katz, said more than 80 per cent of cruise holidays were booked and managed by agents, whose survival was essential to the future recovery of Australia’s travel industry.

“While this package will go some way towards assisting travel agents, it is vital that discussions take place to support a long-term plan for the revival of the travel economy,” he said.

“Cruise lines have been working tirelessly on extensive new health measures to uphold safety when the time is right to resume sailing, and it is important that governments help open a pathway towards recovery for an industry worth more than $5 billion a year to the Australian economy.

“With new health measures in place, we see an opportunity for carefully managed domestic or state-based cruise operations initially for local residents only, which would protect Australia from outside infection while borders remain closed.

“Travel agents are among more than 18,000 Australian workers who rely on cruising and support cruise tourism to dozens of communities around the country.”


Featured image source: iStock/AlenaPaulus

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Travel Agents

Savenio restructures commission model

There’s been plenty of tszujing happening over at Savenio lately. However, that’s not to suggest the “Fab Five” paid the agency network a visit.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas still committed to October restart for international flights, says Joyce

Qantas’ CEO doesn’t plan on letting a few vaccine “speedbumps” get in the way of the flying kangaroo going international in October.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Florida Governor sues CDC and Biden administration, demanding resumption of cruising

The lawsuit claims the US government is “singling out” the cruise industry and costing the state billions.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Man blows almost $20,000 after refusing temperature check at Disney World

Today, in what NOT to do at Disney World, we bring you reports of a man who blew almost $20,000 after getting kicked out for refusing a temperature check.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

Rail Europe launches fresh e-learning program for agents

Are you looking to get your rail bookings back on track? Go full steam ahead with this new online training tool.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Destination NSW appoints PwC’s Kathryn Illy as new GM of consumer marketing

Katherine Illy is joining Destination NSW as its new consumer marketing boss. However, Travel Weekly understands she is of no relation to Aussie rapper Illy.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

New aircraft, more jobs and a bigger network: Virgin Australia fast-tracks growth plans

Virgin boss Jayne Hrdlicka trekked to a cabin crew training school in Brisbane this morn to deliver this very important update.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

“Truly changes the game”: Travelport unveils next-gen platform

The global travel retail player has new-look platform. However, we have no idea how the guying spinning on his head has anything to do with it.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

“There was a knife in the pool”: Melbourne’s worst motel hits the market

Melbourne’s most notorious motel is up for sale, and its owners are hoping to get a few million for it.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Will Aussies actually be able travel to other countries via New Zealand?

Reports have been circulating about a loophole in the trans-Tasman bubble that could see Aussies travelling beyond the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Share

CommentComments

Events

NCL, Club Med and Globus team up for blockbuster roadshows

ATTN AGENTS: It’s time to get out of your track pants and into your business attire, because one of the first in-person trade events of 2021 is about to land.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Upgrades, revitalisation key focuses for Kakadu Tourism in 2021

Kakadu Tourism is upgrading and revitalising its attractions. Sources say the region’s saltwater crocodiles will be equipped with laser beams.

Share

CommentComments