Travel Agents

“Couldn’t ask for a better outcome”: AFTA chief reacts to historic government rescue package for agents

Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) chief executive Darren Rudd has applauded the federal government’s $128 million sector-specific support, the result of what he describes as a “tremendous, combined effort”.

Under the scheme, eligible travel agents with a turnover of more than $50,000 and less than $20 million a year will be able to apply for a one-off payment.

Payments will be scaled, with a minimum payment of $1,500 for a business with a turnover of $50,000 up to a maximum payment of $100,000 for a business with a turnover of $20 million.

More information on how to apply will be available soon, according to the Austrade website.

AFTA said in a statement it was working with the government to make available the web-based vehicle that eligible parties will use to access the grants.

According to the federation, the aim is to ensure intended recipients get paid this month, and specific details of the support package will be issued later this week.

“This is a historic day for Australia’s travel industry,” AFTA chief executive Darren Rudd said.

“We are thrilled to see that the government recognises the need for sector-specific support, and we welcome the announcement of tailored support for Australia’s 4,000 travel agents, tour operators, wholesalers and the 40,000 people we employ and the many, many consumers our members support.

“To say this support package is a financial lifeline is a significant understatement. We simply couldn’t ask for a better outcome from government and we are incredibly grateful to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham.”

Rudd said that while it has been an “incredibly challenging” year for everyone in the sector, it will now move into a new period of transformation, consolidation and growth.

“This milestone is the result of many people working together during this difficult time, including our travel agents, who have been going above and beyond to do what they can to process travel credits and refunds for Australians over the past 10 months, despite having to return the commissions earned on these sales,” he said.

“Today is the result of a tremendous, combined effort that saw travel agents around Australia email, call and meet with their local parliamentarians to make sure they understood the need for tailored support. This is democracy in its best and purest form.

“Sincere thanks to every single parliamentarian who took our cause to government. I would also like to thank Small Business Commissioner Kate Carnell and her team for their valuable work, the work of CATO and CLIA, and the wider travel and tourism sector.

“AFTA will continue to work with members, industry stakeholders, government, and media so that together we can rebuild our sector to its former brilliance.”

Rudd revealed that an agent rescue package from the federal government was imminent at Travel DAZE 2020 last month, and described it as a “frustratingly slow” process when it wasn’t announced within the expected timeline in November.

The federation was lobbying for a 12-month – rather than an 18-month – bridge back to business, and essentially moved from a $125 million ask for sector-specific support to a $250 million ask.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Travel Agents

AFTA prompts ACCC to update advice on COVID-affected travel

AFTA boss Darren Rudd has been rolling up his sleeves so much that his buttoned shirt is starting to resemble a tank top.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

More than 100 million tourism jobs could be saved in 2021: WTTC

The Wolrd Travel & Tourism Council reckons the industry is getting ready to pick itself up, shake itself off and sashay towards recovery.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Ardern threatens to delay two-way trans-Tasman ‘bubble’ after Australia halts Kiwi travellers

by Ali Coulton

The prospect of sending your clients to New Zealand in the first quarter of this year has once again been thrown into jeopardy.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Norwegian extends cruise suspension

This news isn’t particularly surprising. Unless, of course, you’ve been living under a very large rock.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Amsterdam may soon ban tourists from its infamous coffee shops

by Ali Coulton

The days of tourists eating space cakes and bogarting joints in Amsterdam’s infamous coffee shops appear to be numbered, following a proposal from the city’s mayor.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

IAG negotiates half-price deal for Air Europa

The aviation behemoth has turned into a bargain hunter amid the COVID-19 pandemic and realised that $1.6 billion is probably too much to pay for an airline right now.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

New Caledonia Tourism ditches GTI for another local marketing rep

The destination’s tourism board has opted for a ‘French New Wave’ style of marketing, so expect a bit of experimentation and iconoclasm.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Arcadia Expeditions offers private air tour centred on Indigenous storytelling

Got a client who is looking to learn more about the rich culture of Indigenous Australians, but only want to travel via private plane? Start dialling their number.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Historic Southern Highlands property to relaunch as five-star hospitality venue

This soon-to-be-reopened venue even has jail cells. However, that’s not to say they are occupied by any murderers or drug traffickers.

Share

CommentComments

Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with G Adventures’ Dan Coleman

Here, G Adventures’ sales manager for Australia and New Zealand revealed his secret holiday spot … which isn’t really a secret anymore.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Tourism Minister eyes potential post-JobKeeper support package for travel industry

Fingers and toes are being crossed throughout the industry, as Australia’s new Tourism Minister provides some hope of targeted government support.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Flight evacuated following threatening note

Passengers have been evacuated from a plane at an international airport in the US after flight attendants uncovered a written threat.

Share

CommentComments