AFTA mobilises members to push for additional $130m of government support

Piggy bank and medical mask dressed on a toy globe. Concept on the topic of spending on personal protective equipment around the world.

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) is again harnessing the power of its members with the next stage in its lobbying for more ongoing government support.

The federation is pushing for an additional $130 million via a third round of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program, or the implementation of a ‘Travel Disaster Relief Package’ based on the east coast business support program currently running.

AFTA and its members are also calling for wider support until international travel resumes, such as the inclusion of previously excluded businesses in the grants program, as well as funding for multi-outlet businesses.

The federation has made a ‘Mobilisation Toolkit’ available to members on its website.

The ‘National Mobilisation Campaign’ will continue to expand over the coming weeks to incorporate lobbying at a state and territory level, as well as ongoing federal engagement.

It builds on AFTA’s political engagement to date, which has so far secured $258 million in support.

AFTA chair Tom Manwaring said: “Australia’s travel agents and businesses have been in hard lockdown since March 2020 and will be after Australia’s international border reopens. We are Australia’s most heavily-impacted sector.”

“We note the Prime Minister’s continuing commitment to supporting those sectors most impacted by COVID. Travel was the first hit and will be the last to recover. A third of the experienced professionals – predominantly women – working in our sector have lost their jobs.

“We thank the government and Federal Tourism Minister the Hon Dan Tehan for the $258 million COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program received to date, but we need ongoing support to protect the remaining 25,000 jobs and 3,000 businesses so we can keep supporting consumers.

“We know that having our members share their pleas for support directly with their local members of Parliament as part of a coordinated campaign works.

“The case studies that our members bring to the table of the value of a travel agent in these times are compelling and impossible to ignore.”

Featured image source: iStock/SergeyChayko

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