The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has announced a number of measures it will implement to support ATAS-accredited agents and the wider sector.
Among them is the cancellation of the National Travel Industry Awards for 2020, which was set to be held in July at the ICC Sydney.
Instead, AFTA is planning a recovery event for November 2020 subject to the status of the industry and the COVID-19 situation.
A full refund of all monies, including sponsorship fees and all pre-purchased tickets for the NTIAs, will be provided in the coming weeks.
AFTA has also decided not to charge membership fees for the next billing year, and will introduce significant austerity measures across the association to reduce outgoings.
Furthermore, AFTA will draw down on its investment fund to pay for critical operational costs that will allow ongoing support of its members, and ATAS accreditation will switch to a “monitor and support” mode.
AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury said the association’s primary focus for the next six months is on industry support and government engagement to secure the necessary support, assistance and reforms.
He said the new measures are “common-sense decisions which will make a real difference to agents and sponsors, while ensuring AFTA is able to continue advocating for our members and their customers at this critical time”.
“Quite apart from the financial benefit for agents and our valued NTIA partners at a time when every dollar matters, it just wouldn’t be right to proceed with NTIA at this time.
“We will get through this together and, with that in mind, are planning a recovery party in November and an even bigger and better NTIA 2021.
“Finally, AFTA members will be contacted directly and more information will be provided with regards to financial reporting requirements and the fact that membership fees will not be charged.
“AFTA remains committed to supporting members through these unprecedented times.”