The managing director of a South Australian-based travel agency has sat down with local and federal MPs to discuss how best to assist the tourism sector.
David Wright, MD of Travel Prospects in Walkerville, recently met with federal and state shadow tourism ministers Don Farrell and Zoe Lee Bettison, as well as local small business MPs, and urged them to encourage Australians to book with a travel agent.
Wright expressed his concerns about state border closures, which he said are still keeping his hands tied when it comes to generating domestic sales, as well as his encouragement for a travel ‘bubble’ with New Zealand, followed by Fiji and the Pacific.
He said the “piecemeal vouchers” being offered by some states for travellers who book directly with hotels or travel locally do not help generate as many tourism dollars as a travel agent booking.
Wright compared clients booking a local hotel in Adelaide with a direct booking voucher with a travel agent planned trip.
“South Australian hotel voucher to selected hotels – no involvement from travel agents,” he said.
“Mr and Mrs Smith book locally drive to city hotel – all done.”
But when clients books a holiday with an agent, Wright said many more parties benefit, including the agency itself, airports, taxi drivers, local GPs (if clients need vaccines or medication advice), airlines and local sales reps.
“So, helping just the local tourism sector is not truly acting [for] true tourism, and [everyone] involved,” he said.
“Like most other family-owned, small travel agencies along with the bigger [ones], we just want to get back to work. [We] do not want continued handouts. Let us do what we are good at.”