The effects of COVID-19 have been felt by all in the travel and tourism sector, however there is nothing more confronting than seeing the impact in black and white.
Yesterday the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported a 99.7% decrease in overseas arrivals and departures on April 2019 – the largest decrease on record.
And in a media release last week, AFTA lay bare the very real impact that the pandemic has had on businesses with 82% of agents reporting a 100% decline in revenue and a further 16% experiencing a 90% decline (AFTA Member Sentiment Survey).
If amongst the chaos, you took a moment to pause; To stop; To listen; You may hear the words of Bob Marley ringing loudly; “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice”.
This is a wonderful phrase. A perfect depiction of our industry. Despite all the challenges bestowed upon our industry over the last five months we remain united, strong and passionate.
In the same AFTA member survey, which highlighted the challenges and revealed that 42% of businesses would need to hibernate or permanently close if it was not for the JobKeeper, 31% of travel agency owners and managers said that they still felt positive about the future of their business! This speaks to the passion and resilience of our people and the industry.
Last week, AFTA shared details of the latest JobKeeper submission that went to the Treasury Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit and whilst we wait for the government to announce its decision in July, AFTA is not pausing. We have moved straight to the next phase of lobbying and are supporting this submission through a strategic approach which brings forward, to tell their story, the many individuals whose businesses have being impacted by COVID-19.
In fact, this week several AFTA members are having discussions with Treasury to share specific details of their challenges. These stories and the many gathered through the Member Sentiment Survey are being used to support AFTA’s ongoing dialogue with government.
It isn’t business as usual, but the importance of being a member of AFTA remains steadfast. ATAS accredited businesses are professional, reputable and credible and even in our darkest days we remain true to these values. We are crucial to the travel supply chain.