The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) dropped in on Tourism Minister Dan Tehan in Canberra on Wednesday to discuss the second round of the COVID-19 Consumer Support Grant.
An additional $130 million was announced last week as part of Austrade’s extended funding program (for a further three months beyond 13 March) to help give eligible agents breathing space to facilitate customer refunds and follow up travel credits.
Both AFTA and the Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) confirmed to Travel Weekly that several key changes have been made to the second round of the program as a result of industry feedback.
During yesterday’s meeting, AFTA director David Smith and CEO Darren Rudd raised the need to ensure the balance of the $128 first round of the grant program is distributed appropriately and urgently to those travel businesses that so desperately need support.
“The focus of the meeting was the design principles for the $130 million second round of the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Consumer Support Grant and the need to ensure the balance of the $128 Million round one is distributed appropriately,” said Rudd.
“In addition to encouraging the Government to look at extending the grant period beyond the current June end, AFTA continues to push for equitable and timely distribution of funds to those travel businesses that so desperately need support.”
Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan, who has been a staunch and welcome champion of travel agents and businesses in the National Party party room and on the floor of Parliament, was also present.
“We thank Minister Tehan for making time to meet with us and for his ongoing support. We also thank Pat Conaghan for his tireless championing of travel agents and travel businesses in his electorate and around Australia.
“There are a number of additional briefings with key ministers, shadow ministers and key political and departmental influencers as well this week. We will continue to keep you updated.
“The AFTA Board and Team are united in our focus on securing and maximising support for our members.”
Image: L-R: Dan Tehan, Fed Tourism Minister; Darren Rudd, AFTA CEO; David Smith, AFTA Director, Pat Conaghan, Member for Cowper.