The Australian Travel Industry Association (ATIA) is asking for dedicated resources and support for all member types as part of its comprehensive pre-budget submission.
ATIA’s 15 page submission seeks Federal Government action across key areas including:
- Further investment and training in cybersecurity for small business: Appropriate support must be given to Australia’s travel intermediary businesses to ensure they are well equipped to manage cyber-related risks.
- The re-introduction of the Technology Investment Boost and the extension of the Skills Training Boost (scheduled to end on 30 June 2024) with both programs made permanent.
- Resources to support small businesses in meeting the additional requirements of The Privacy Act post-removal of the current exemptions and funding for industry associations to conduct training and assist SMEs in complying.
Measures to ensure an appropriately skilled workforce for the Travel Industry:
- Provide Government support for traineeships of no less than 30 per cent in wage subsidies across two years, reinstate the fixed monetary completion incentive of $2,500 to employers and $5,000 to trainees to assist in the completion of their training.
- Federal and state governments need to align funding and priorities.
- Ensuring that there is appropriate funding for the Australian Apprenticeship Support Networks to deliver mentor services to assist trainees.
Measures to enhance traveller experience:
- Investment in the Australian Passport Office to further enhance the digital pathway for passport application and renewal.
- Expansion of the application and renewal process to allow for Australians to be supported by Australia’s almost 2000 ATAS travel businesses who can provide higher levels of customer service than the existing provider.
- Investment in seamless border facilitation to handle growing passenger numbers and improve the border experience including digitalising the Incoming Passenger Card and transitioning the Tourist Refund Scheme to a world-class outsourced digital system.
- Increased resourcing for border agencies at Australia’s 60-plus seaports to support the rapidly growing cruise market.
Appropriate funding for DFAT and border services:
- No further increase to the Passenger Movement Charge and diversion of the projected $1.3 billion generated in 2026/27 to border security as per the original intention.
- Maintenance of the current budget for Smarttraveller and Consular Services.
- Funding to develop a Safe Children, Safe Traveller Campaign to help combat child sex exploitation in ASEAN.
ATIA CEO, Dean Long, said he hopes that the Government will listen to the association’s calls for action on these measures.
“Australia’s retail, corporate and online travel agents, tour operators, wholesalers and consolidators provide the frontline role in supporting Australians travel,” Long said.
“At least 70 per cent of all international air sales and over 90 per cent of corporate sales are booked through our members rather than direct while approximately 65 per cent of travellers use travel advisors to book cruises.
“We are asking for common-sense action including on key support for the 92 per cent of ATIA members who are small businesses on measures such as cybersecurity, privacy and training as well as ongoing assistance in addressing the massive ongoing workforce and skills shortage.”
The Federal budget is expected to be announced in the middle of the year.