AFTA sets and maintains Australian travel agent standards; representing the travel industry when addressing policy issues to state and federal governments and stakeholders.
From time to time AFTA will make submissions to Government on major issues facing the Australian travel industry. Our submissions aim to support the lowering of the barriers to allow more Australians to travel domestically and internationally.
AFTA's 2020-21 Pre-Budget Submission with Treasury, urgently callS for a Sector Specific Support Package of $125 million as a result of COVID-19.
The Submission highlights the fact that travel agents, tour operators and travel wholesalers are on the pandemic frontline supporting consumers while being among the worst hit of Australian businesses with 90%-plus revenue drops and little sign of real recovery without the resumption of international travel.
March 2020: AFTA’s Travel Industry Emergency Package COVID-19 Response
On Thursday 19th March AFTA lodged AFTA’s Travel Industry Emergency Package COVID-19 Response with the Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit within Federal Treasury. AFTA is working with lobbyists to brief key decision makers within Government and the Opposition including the PM, Treasurer, Finance Minister, Opposition Leader and Treasury.
The submission outlines 8 key measures which the Government must enact to provide immediate relief to struggling businesses in desperate need of cashflow.
We are also making sure they understand the unique challenges the travel sector faces in terms of the purchase cycle, and the fact that the sector is more than just airlines.
January 2020: Commonwealth Pre-Budget Submission 2020-21
AFTA’s 2020-21 Commonwealth Pre-Budget Submission details initiatives that will support the growth of the travel and tourism sector, while also supporting the Government’s plan to bring the budget back to surplus.
The submission calls for the continuation of a freeze on the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC), along with supporting current levels of Government appropriation and support for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Consular Services and passenger facilitation.
In light of the recent devastating Australian bushfires, AFTA urges to Government to ensure the appropriation of funds from the National Bushfire Recovery Fund include ATAS accredited Australian based travel agency businesses for distribution arrangements, who are committed to advocating for the benefits of domestic tourism.
September 2019: Federal Government Calls for submissions relating to Add-On insurance reforms.
The Federal Treasury released a discussion paper which calls for reform in the way Add-On insurance may be sold in Australia following recommendations made in the Hayne Report (The Banking Royal Commission).
AFTA has prepared a detailed submission which supports the travel agency community for the continued sale of travel insurance under an exemption from the reform being suggested.
The submission outlines the current market, reasons why travel agents remain well placed for this exception and the value consumers gain by being able to continue to access travel insurance from travel agents.Download the submission
In the 2018-19 Budget, the Government announced it would introduce an economy-wide cash payment limit of $10,000 for payments made or accepted by businesses for goods and services. Transactions equal to, or in excess of this amount would need to be made using the electronic payment system or by cheque. The Black Economy Taskforce recommended this action to tackle tax evasion and other criminal activities.
The Government released for public consultation exposure draft legislation and accompanying explanatory material to implement the economy-wide cash payment limit from 1 January 2020 and for certain AUSTRAC reporting entities from 1 January 2021.
You can read the exposure draft legislation here: https://www.treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2019-t395788
Click here/below to read the AFTA submission to the draft legislation:
In February 2018, the Australian Government established the Beyond Tourism 2020 Steering Committee to shape Australia’s next long-term tourism strategy to commence in January 2021.
The Beyond Tourism 2020 Steering Committee submitted its report to Government in December 2018, and in February 2019 a consultation processes was launched to seek industry and governments’ views on the report.
AFTA continues to maintain a strong position on not lifting the PMC, reforming the Tourist Refund Scheme and ensuring holistic approach is undertaken to market development.
The NSW Government is looking to place regulatory requirements on travel agents to disclose commissions to consumers. AFTA has prepared a comprehensive submission to the consultation process to outline why travel agents MUST be except from these new laws. We will continue to advocate for this and strongly defend the policy position established by AFTA on this matter.
July 2018: GST on Offshore Hotel Bookings
In the 2018-19 Commonwealth Budget, the Government announced that offshore companies that sell hotel bookings in Australia have the same GST obligations as Australian companies. The draft legislation removes an exemption that allows offshore sellers not to count sales of hotel bookings in Australia towards their $75,000 GST turnover threshold from 1 July 2019.
Further information about the consultation and explanatory materials can be found on the Commonwealth Treasury website.
July 2018: Submission to the Commonwealth Treasury: Introduction of an economy wide cash limit.
The Government announced the introduction of an economy-wide cash payment limit of $10,000 as part of the 2018-19 Commonwealth Budget, applicable to payments made to businesses for goods and services from 1 July 2019. Transactions in excess of this amount would need to be made using the electronic payment system or by cheque.
You can read the options paper presented by Treasury here.
AFTA has submitted this paper to detail the complexities this new regulation will impose on AFTA members and potential solutions for the consideration of the Commonwealth Treasury.
AFTA welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the Beyond 2020 process reviewing Government policy settings for the Tourism and Travel Sector. AFTA has advocated for the inclusion of the outbound sector in the next Government tourism strategy.
The submission continues AFTA strong position on not lifting the PMC, reforming the Tourist Refund Scheme and ensuring holistic approach is undertaken to market development.
December 2017: Commonwealth Pre-Budget Submission 2018 - 2019
AFTA’s 2018-2019 Commonwealth Pre-Budget Submission details initiatives that will support the growth of the travel and tourism sector while supporting the Government’s plan to balance the Commonwealth’s Budget. In doing say the submission details that the Government should maintain its commitment to not lift the PMC until 2021 and requesting that funding support for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Consular Services program are maintained at least to 2017 levels.
This submission also supports the continuation of current levels of Government appropriation for Tourism Australia and the continuation of the investment in more efficient border processing technology by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection including the reform of the Tourist Refund Scheme.SUBMISSION PAPER >
November 2017: Qantas Airways Limited & Emirates
AFTA was requested by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to comment on the Qantas Airways Limited & Emirates application for revocation of authorisations A91332 and A921333 and substitution of new authorisation AA1000400.
AFTA believes that continuing the central elements of the authorisation under AA10000400, such as schedule coordination, frequent flyer options, sales and airport coordination provides industry and consumer partnership is a positive for the travel industry.
The expansion will deliver additional network benefits which are only possible when airlines form deep partnership structures with Anti-Trust Immunity including increased consumer choice for stop over options in Dubai, Singapore and Perth when travelling to Europe.
View details on authorisations AA10000400 >
For further information about the authorisation process view here.
March 2017: Submission to the Foreign Policy White Paper
The Australian Government commenced development on Australia’s first Foreign Policy White Paper since 2003. The Foreign Affairs White Paper will define and provide a road map for Australia’s economic, security and foreign policy interests. To understand further about this process https://dfat.gov.au/whitepaper/index.html
AFTA’s submission requests the Australian Government continue to evolve the services to Australians through Consular Services and Smartraveller as well as recognising the important role that international travel by Australians’ take in developing the Indo-Pacific Region.
October 2016: Submission to the Australian Senate Economics Committee
The Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) is a tax on all travellers including Australian’s who depart Australia via a cruise or plane. The PMC was original established to recover the costs of providing immigration and boarder control services but is now clearly a tax on travel raising more than $1 billion a year for the Commonwealth Government. Currently the PMC is set at $55 per person and the Government has announced it intends to lift the PMC by 9% to $60 from 1 July 2017 with no consultation with industry on its impacts.
As a result AFTA has provide the Australian Senate Economics Committee this Submission detailing the impacts on travel agents the broader travel sector. AFTA also appeared as witness for the Committee on 26 October 2016 to answer questions on the proposed impacts on travel agents. Further details on the progress of this Bill through the Australian Parliament can be found from the Australian Parliament website.AFTA Media Release >
AFTA’s 2016/2017 Commonwealth Pre-Budget Submission details initiatives that will support the growth of the travel and tourism sector while supporting the Government’s plan to balance the Commonwealth’s Budget.
The Pre-budget submission calls for the continuation of a freeze on the Passenger Movement Charge which is currently forecast to collect $1 billion from Australian’s and visitors departing Australia. The Passenger Movement Charge is meant to recover the cost of facilitation but it now over collects by more than $750 million.
This submission is also framed to support the current levels of Government appropriation for the Foreign Affairs and Trade and Investment portfolios and to improve the efficiency of the Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection.
AFTA, as the Co-Chair of the Tourism Shopping Reform Group (TSRG), made a submission to the Federal Government’s 2016-17 Pre-Budget process.
The Tourism Shopping Reform Group (TSRG) is a coalition of Australian tourism and retail industry associations and businesses, who support reform to shopping arrangements in Australia, in particular administrative enhancements to the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS).
The TSRG advocates for the introduction of a best-practice TRS. Australia’s current TRS is administered by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) through the Australian Border Force (ABF). As one of the few known government-run TRS systems in the world, this is labour-intensive, time-consuming, paper-based and an inefficient use of scarce fully-trained ABF officers.
The TSRG is advocating for the introduction of private refund operators, who can provide the TRS within an open and competitive market. The Australian Government’s consideration of TRS enhancement creates an opportunity for policy makers to adopt an open market, with private refund providers, to enhance the administration of the TRS.
AFTA made a second submission to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) on the major issues Australian travel agents face in regards to the acceptance of credit cards. Of particular focus was the management of Forward Delivery Risk and proposed surcharging changers. The RBA issue paper can be downloaded here.AFTA Submission Paper
AFTA was requested by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to comment on for revocation of authorisations A91265 & A91266 and substitution of new authorisations A91502 & A91503.
The Applicants (Qantas Airways and American Airlines Group Inc) and their related bodies corporate are seeking re-authorisation for 10 years to coordinate their operations between and within Australia/New Zealand and the United States, Canada, and Mexico pursuant to a Restated Joint Business Agreement (Restated JBA) and associated agreements.
The application proposed conduct that includes the coordination in respect of marketing and sales, freight, pricing, scheduling, distribution strategies including joint agency arrangements, yield and inventory management, frequent flyer programs, lounges, joint procurement and product and service standards.
Any proposal that ensures a successful future for airlines in Australia is welcomed and supported by AFTA. We believe this to be the case in relation to this proposed authorisations. For these reasons AFTA is fully supportive of the proposal and encourages the ACCC to grant approval for this application.
For further details on authorisations A91502 & A91503 click here.
For further information about the authorisation process click here.
AFTA made a submission to the Reserve Bank of Australia on the major issues Australian travel agents in regards to the acceptance of credit cards. The RBA issue paper can be downloaded from the RBA website.Download the RBA Submission Paper
AFTA’s 2015/2016 Commonwealth Pre-Budget Submission details initiatives that will support the growth of the travel and tourism sector while supporting the Government’s plan to balance the Commonwealth’s Budget.
This submission is framed to support the current levels of Government appropriation for the Foreign Affairs and Trade and Investment portfolios and to improve the efficiency of the Department of Immigration and Boarder Security.DOWNLOAD THE SUBMISSION PAPER
AFTA, as the Co-Chair of the Tourism Shopping Reform Group (TSRG), made a submission to the Federal Government’s 2015-16 Pre-Budget process.
The TSRG is a coalition of tourism and retail industry associations and businesses that support the implementation of changes to Australian tourism shopping arrangements, particularly administrative enhancements to the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS).
The role of the TSRG is to propose reforms to the administration of the TRS. This submission would assist the TRS to deliver on its policy objectives and provide numerous other benefits, including:
The Australian tourism industry submitted a response to the Government's review of border fees, charges and taxes. This report contains contributions by AFTA on industry's behalf.