Travel Agents

“They deserve respect”: Former Labor leader states case for agent support from government

The need for tailored financial support for travel agents is once again being flagged on the floor of federal parliament, this time by former Labor leader Bill Shorten and member for Warringah Zali Steggall.

During Monday’s proceedings, Shorten, who is the member for Maribyrnong, spoke out about the workers who have been left behind by JobKeeper, and who will be left behind in December when the payments end.

“I want to talk about one group of people. If they are not the hardest hit, no other group is any harder hit. I talk about the small and medium-size businesses of the travel agency sector,” he said.

“They’ve been terribly hard hit in Australia, in Victoria and in my electorate of Maribyrnong and they are concerned that, without proper, targeted support, it will be the death knell for their businesses.”

Shorten said he recently met with a group of travel agents from his electorate as well as the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) CEO Darren Rudd.

“They made the directness of their plight very plain emotionally, truthfully, factually, painfully,” he said.

“Travel agents in Australia employ 40,000 Australians in metro and regional locations. Thirty thousand of the employees in the travel agency sector are women.

“They are the fabric of each community. They sponsor the local clubs and the local high street traders. They are part of our landscape.”

“I met with AFTA, and they have asked for sector-specific funding in the form of grants – a 12-month bridge back to business of $250 million, plus concessional loans. That’s AFTA’s ask. The government will have to work out if they can afford it, which I suspect they can.

“These travel agents, these small and medium-sized businesses, deserve imagination. They deserve passion. They deserve a bespoke approach. They deserve respect.

“Forty-thousand people who helped make the rest of us have a much more enjoyable quality of life. Let us, who have benefited from the travel agency industry, not abandon the travel agency industry, because certainly if we booked with them they wouldn’t do that to us.”

Steggall also mentioned meeting with travel agents from her electorate and said they are desperate.

“They are calling on Minister Birmingham to do something about their sector,” she said.

“They’re desperate that there either be some travel corridors or something to address it.

“They are in a situation of no pipeline of work for some 12 to 18 months, as we face worldwide uncertainty over what is happening with the pandemic.

“We can’t just assume that a vaccine will be available and it will be a return to business as usual. We must prepare and have a long-term plan.”

Rudd is currently in Canberra meeting with key decision-makers including the prime minister’s office continuing to push the cause for support.

A petition calling for tailored support with 5008 signatures was also lodged in the House of Representatives, which you can check out here.

This follows news that targeted travel agent support was the most-flagged issue raised by members of parliament at an early October Joint Coalition Party Room meeting.

According to a release from AFTA, this came as a result of its members briefing 42 cabinet and shadow cabinet ministers.


Featured image credit: Facebook/Bill Shorten

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Destinations

ScoMo reveals fresh candidates for expanded travel ‘bubble’, including some Chinese provinces

by Ali Coulton

With two-way trans-Tasman travel off the cards for the foreseeable future, Australia’s PM has revealed a few north Asian candidates for an expanded ‘bubble’.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Muslim influencer claims she was kicked off flight because “entitled white man” felt uncomfortable

The influencer said she was removed from a flight following an altercation with a man whose behaviour she claims would have seen her, a veiled Muslim woman, detained.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Australia’s small business ombudsman says travel agent support package is “a matter of urgency”

The calls for ScoMo to get off his backside and announce the lifeline agents so badly need have grown even louder and slightly terser.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Berlin’s new airport opens nearly a decade late and $6.5 billion over budget

You know what they say: better late than never. Well, that’s what we assume the masterminds behind this new airport have been telling themselves for the past eight years.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Tourism Australia’s marketing team recognised with prestigious award

While it’s been a tough year for Australia’s tourism industry, its lead organisation had something to celebrate about on Friday night.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Carnival-owned cruise lines suspend select sailings until November 2021

Another day, another cruise pause update from your trusty buddies at Travel Weekly. You can thank us by sending cupcakes and a bottle of vodka.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin ramp up operations in response to NSW-Victoria border reopening

Those living in Mascot and Tullamarine can expect a bit more overhead noise from now on, with Aussie carriers getting busy again between the two states.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Helloworld acquires cruise wholesaler, renews deal with Qantas

Despite Andrew Burnes not being very smiley in the accompanying photo, you can bet these two very big announcements will have him grinning from ear to ear.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

TravelManagers agent books first Crooked Compass $9,000 lunch

Have you got any high-end clients looking to throw almost $10K at a fancy lunch? Read on and you may just become the second agent to sell one of these luxe trips.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Trafalgar launches new competition to reward local heroes

Got a hero in your neighbourhood who deserves a holiday? Trafalgar is giving you the chance to reward them handsomely.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

New airline to charge for toilet paper, ditch life jackets and host COVID-friendly flights

by Ali Coulton

This airline is so low-cost that it is leading people to believe it is a parody of Iceland’s now-defunct WOW Air, particularly because of the strange character holding the reins.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Solomon Islands’ tourism board urges government to reconsider planned Facebook ban

The destination’s government ministers appear to have rocks in their heads, judging by this ridiculous plan.

Share

CommentComments