Travel Agents

“This is a critical three-week window”: AFTA chief urges members to get lobbying

It’s time to get lobbying – that’s the call from the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) to members as part of the National Mobilisation Program to secure sector-specific support of $125 million from the federal government.

Many AFTA members have already successfully used the National Mobilisation Program toolkit to secure meetings with their local federal representative.

The association has also just added a powerful AFTA- and ATAS-branded, industry-produced video for members to use in their meetings, which showcases the compelling case for support.

The toolkit is on the AFTA website and available to all travel agents, travel wholesalers and tour operators for use.

“We are all in this together and now, more than ever before, we need to all work together to maximise our impact,” AFTA chief executive Darren Rudd said.

“This is a critical three-week window in the lead-up to the Federal Budget, and we need our AFTA members to connect with each other and contact their local federal representative this week in order to get a meeting in the diary and/or have a conversation well before the 6 October Federal Budget.”

“Right across Australia, we want everyone in our sector to come together in an organised way so that we cover each and every electorate.

“Whether your local federal representative is in government or opposition, or sitting on the cross benches; whether they’re a member of the House of Representatives or a senator; now is the time to meet with them and ask for their support for our $125 million Travel Agent Support Package.

Rudd said he, AFTA chairman Tom Manwaring and other directors are also happy to participate remotely in meetings, and encouraged

“We believe we are the only sector that is running a coordinated and combined direct lobbying/grassroots campaign in order to make sure our need for tailored federal support for travel agents, tour operators and travel wholesalers is heard and supported,” he said.

“In parallel with our federal focus, we continue to work directly with all the states and territories to secure their support for a range of measures, including financial and rent relief.”

AFTA’s travel agent support package calls for a range of initiatives to ensure agents’ survival, including:

  • Scaled ‘back to business’ grants forecast to be an average $40,000 based on total transaction value in FY19 to assist them to stay in business, cover some operational costs, continue the work of both returning refunds to customers and assisting travellers in 2021 and beyond.
  • ‘Back in business’ concessional loans of up to $100,000 per agency outlet to sustain business and service to travellers, delivered through commercial banks, backed up by a three-year Commonwealth guarantee.
  • The critical need to get Australians travelling again through the establishment of travel ‘bubbles’ and through government promoting the purchase of travel through Australian-owned travel businesses/
  • The reinstatement of previous loss carry-back provisions to allow current-year losses to be carried back to FY19 and FY20.
  • Federal government guarantee of corporate debt covenants until 30 June 2021.
  • All states and territories to extend the Mandatory Code of Conduct for commercial tenancies to 31 March 2021.

Featured image source: iStock/traffic_analyzer

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