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MEDIA RELEASE: AFTA applauds WA Govt Support

[18 September 2020:] AFTA today applauded the Western Australian Government’s initiative in launching a $3 million support packages for travel agents to assist with the impacts of COVID-19.

The initial rollout of the program will provide packages of up to $5,000 to eligible home-based agents and minimum $10,000 packages to eligible brick-and-mortar businesses.

To be eligible, travel agents must be legitimate small businesses with a current registered Australian Business Number (as at March 20, 2020), and have experienced a 75 per cent or greater reduction in turnover due to the impact of COVID-19.

Applications for the support package open on Friday October 2 and close at 5pm on Friday October 30, with the Small Business Development Corporation to contact WA travel agents direct with information on how to apply. Travel agents who have not been contacted by Wednesday, September 23 are asked to email tasp@smallbusiness.wa.gov.au

The program is in addition to the State Government’s existing COVID-19 support measures for small businesses, such as commercial tenancy laws to protect small businesses from the impacts of the pandemic.

Quotes attributable to AFTA CEO Darren Rudd:
“This is the first dedicated support program for travel agents and we thank WA Small Business and Tourism Minister Paul Papalia and the WA Government for this critically important initiative.”

“Travel agents have effectively been locked down from Day 1 of the pandemic as a result of international border closures and will be the last to recover. Each and every travel agent in WA and around Australia has been hit by revenue falls of 90% and more. Despite this, they continue to work hard to support their customers. So far a massive $6 billion dollars has been successfully repatriated by travel agents from airlines, hotels, and tour operators to customers. There’s still $4 billion to be worked through. This is an ardous, time-consuming process.”

“Today’s announcement is important recognition of this work. AFTA has been working closely with all Governments at all levels including in WA to make sure they understand the need for immediate, tailored support. I also want to acknowledge the tremendous effort of local travel agents who have been tireless in putting their case. Christine Ross-Davies of Attadale Travel & Snow Travel Experts and Jo-Anne Francis of Global Travel Solutions deserve particular acknowledgment for their extraordinary efforts.”

“Travel agents right across Australia are being proactive in taking their need to Government in what is their darkest hour. This is the first time that agents have sought help. They have successfully navigated many challenges before that have impacted travel but this is a situation like no other and without tailored support, the situation is dire. We are confident that, increasingly, Government understands this.”