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AFTA CEO Update - Tuesday 14 April 2020

The Easter long weekend feels like it is well behind us as what is left of our industry kicks back into gear today, and I hope everyone managed to get some respite from the madness of COVID-19.

Clients calling for a refund or a cancellation is the order of the day for so many, and the persistent challenge of no new bookings to talk about and continued doom and gloom all around us - be it on the TV, iPad, iPhone or any device – means negativity is winning.

I know just how hard this is for everyone in the travel industry and it is killing all of us to sit back and watch things move deeper into dismay.

Government support for business so far has been complicated and AFTA is trying its best to unpack it, and it has been terrific to be able to talk with so many members on the various webinars we have been running.

There are many more of those planned for this week, and the weeks to follow, so we can help members get access to the various support packages, and hopefully they will benefit from this in order to keep their business alive.

So many in the travel industry are hurting regardless of where you sit.

Big, medium, small, agency, consultant, home-based, supplier, wholesaler, tour operator, cruise, airline, car hire, insurance -everyone is hurting and as each week moves along the pain becomes more acute.

If there is a good thing to think about, then it is this: China appears to be on the move again, with reports people are travelling, hotels have guests and travel restrictions are not as harsh, meaning COVID shoots can appear in a good way.

While all of this isolation and social distancing, travel bans, etc., play out, the most important thing is we are all doing what we can to ensure that we are all here on the other side of this.

Some might say that it’s easy for me to write and I understand that this sentiment may not run true in the end, but we all need to stay optimistic, believe in the future and keep dreaming of a time when people travel again.

It will happen - imagine never seeing the Grand Canyon, the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Burj Khalifa, New York, Hawaii, Japan, the White Cliffs of Dover, a starlit night in the middle of the ocean off the coast of South America, the Iguazu Falls, the Trevi
Fountain, the line at immigration in Changi Airport, the list goes on; just imagine how boring life would be - we will travel again because none of these wonders caught this wretched virus.

It will all be there for us to sell and enjoy and I for one cannot wait, as I am sure all of us in the travel industry can’t.

So keep dreaming, keep talking to clients and each other, and the AFTA team will keep bashing away at the doors of Parliament House in Canberra, so we are not left behind.

On a final note, I do hope TD readers managed to get some time out (well, not out more in) over Easter and as they say, tallyho, we are back to the COVID19 crisis, searching for solutions.