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AFTA spotlights the need for JobKeeper extension for the tourism industry

AFTA spotlights the need for JobKeeper extension for the tourism industry
February 23, 2021

Working closely with other bodies including Tourism and Transport Forum Australia, the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) highlights that without a JobKeeper extension beyond 28th March, eight in 10 people working in travel and tourism will be out of a job and three in 10 businesses forced to close.

A further 52% of entity respondents to a survey by peak industry body AFTA are uncertain of their ability to continue to operate.

Working closely with Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF), Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), AFTA wants to keep the pressure on and ensure the need for sector support remains at the forefront of political deliberations. This is being achieved through a combination of direct advocacy at a Ministerial, MP, Senator and local level and via strategic media engagement.

With travel agents spending the majority of their time (on average 81%) helping Australian consumers secure an outstanding estimated $2 billion in refunds and credits for COVID-impacted travel from international airlines, hotels, tour operators, this is also dire news for consumers.

AFTA has released interim results from its member survey which shows of the 1513 respondents:

  • 67% are SME retail leisure agencies;
  • 94% are dealing with a decline in revenue of 90% (with 99% experiencing at least a 70% decline);
  • 80% of the workforce of travel agents businesses are women;
  • 81% of all travel businesses’ work is helping customers with COVID-impacted travel;
  • 43% believe they are unlikely to return to profit until 2023.

AFTA’s ask which is also reinforced in the pre-Budget submission continues to be:

  • The evolution and extension of JobKeeper in a tailored way until one quarter after the international border is liberated;
  • The allocation of any funds outstanding from the first round of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program via a second program round with an amended payment scale to address issues already identified.  

AFTA is working closely with other bodies including CATO, CLIA, TTF, BCA, and ACCI to keep the pressure on and ensure the need for sector support remains at the forefront of political deliberations. This is being achieved through a combination of direct advocacy at a Ministerial, MP, Senator and local level and via strategic media engagement.

AFTA Chief Executive, Darren Rudd notes “the travel sector is grateful for Government support to date via the Grants Support Program but in this our darkest period, we need ongoing support in a renamed, repurposed JobKeeper equivalent for our sector.

“Without this, our sector will be disseminated, leaving Australian consumers with nowhere to turn to assist with the estimated $4 billion in refunds from global airlines, hotels and tour operators. Collapse of our sector will also leave the country without the skill set to support the COVID minefield of travel once the international border is liberated.

“JobKeeper has been critical in helping travel businesses keep the doors open and support customers with cancellations, refunds and credits and we need Travelsectorkeeper moving forward.

“The interim survey results reveal some distressing statistics and highlight the critical need for ongoing help. Without it, when JobKeeper ends on 28th March, we will see eight in 10 people still working in travel out of a job, and three in 10 businesses having to close with a further 52% uncertain about their future.”

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12th February 2021 - WTTC new paper showcases tourism industry’s role in in enhancing social progress

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2nd February 2021 - Tasmanian Government helps tourism attractions with insurance contributions

1st February 2021 - Without JobKeeper Australian tourism businesses face ‘annihilation’

30th January 2021 - Australian tourism industry unites to call for post-March Federal Government business support

26th January 2021 - Report asks if Australian tourism industry can be insured?

21st January 2021 - Australian tourism industry haemorrhaged almost $7 billion over the summer holidays

19th January 2021 - Facing ongoing international borders closures tourism industry calls for continued Federal Government support

14th January 2021 - TCWA says one in five Western Australian tourism businesses at risk if JobKeeper ends

4th January 2021 - Policy body warns that thousands of tourism businesses face closure without $1 billion lifeline

21st February 2021 - Far North Queensland loses $2.2 billion of visitor spending


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