The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has secured an opportunity to appear before the Senate Select Committee into COVID-19 to reinforce the case for ongoing, tailored support for Australia’s 2,000 travel businesses and 40,000 employees.
AFTA chair Tom Manwaring and CEO Darren Rudd will appear in the 1:40pm timeslot today, with the hearing being livestreamed. You can watch it by clicking here.
Other organisations appearing today at the hearing are the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Austrade, Tourism Australia, and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Rudd said the hearing is an important opportunity to widen political support and understanding of the need for specific and sustained support for travel agents above and beyond a tailored extension of JobKeeper.
“I welcome the opportunity to appear before the Senate Select Committee and share our members’ stories and the desperate need for agent-specific financial support and relief measures,” he said.
“Travel agents were the first hit by COVID because of the unique nature of the travel payment ecosystem, and they will be the last to recover, especially given the devasting impact of the international travel ban and hard domestic border closures.
“The impact on consumer and business confidence cannot be underestimated.
“Our members have seen revenue falls of 90 to 100 per cent, and until travel resumes, which is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels before 2024, there’s simply no income on the horizon.
“In the meantime, they are spending hours and days managing refunds and credits for their clients.”
Featured image source: iStock/kokkai