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AFTA Weekly Update

AFTA Update | Travel Daily 16 February 2021

Last week’s visit to Adelaide was a very positive one. AFTA CEO Darren Rudd met with 24 agent members over the course of the week in addition to other key stakeholders.

The focus of the consultations was to help Darren understand the operations of the businesses pre -COVID, the concerns and challenges experienced by the business throughout 2020 and to fully appreciate what the impact will be should state and territory government support not continue. Additionally, to seek input on what can AFTA do better for our members.

This feedback was fed directly into Darren’s meetings with South Australian Premier Stephen Marshall, South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) and Tourism Industry Council South Australia (TICSA). In fact, Darren spent 5 hours over the course of the week with the Premier, discussing travel agents, state based funding, rent relief and the mandatory code of conduct and various tourism initiatives including extending the voucher program to incorporate travel agents.

It is pleasing to share that the South Australian Government’s Small Business Grants delivered $2.253 million to 137 travel agent and tour operator businesses in 2020.

Darren also had a very productive meeting with Denis Bunnik in his capacity as Chair for CATO, where they discussed joint projects and initiates for the sector to ensure collective success and more planned collaboration.

Additionally, last Tuesday 9 February, new print advertising hit the market as part of Tourism Australia’s Holiday Here This Year Campaign. The campaign creative calls Australian’s to ‘plan an incredible trip with your local travel agent today’. The creative will run until June 2021 across NewsCorp, nine, 7West and the ACM networks and is estimated to reach more than 4.6million consumers.

We’ve received some feedback from members who are unaware of the work Tourism Australia has been doing to support industry, and so it is worth highlighting that AFTA has been working with Tourism Australia since the onset of COVID-19 and that they do in fact recognise the important role travel agents play in the travel booking supply chain.

Specifically, Tourism Australia has updated the Aussie Specialist Program for Australian travel agents so their businesses could benefit as much as possible from domestic bookings. To date more than 2,000 Australian travel agents that have completed Program adding to the 27,000 agents globally who are part of the push to sell Australia.

We urge all travel agents if you have not yet completed the Aussie Specialist Program to do so. Only travel agents who complete the Program will be featured on “find a travel agent near you” link which clients can then use to book with a local agent.

Additionally, Tourism Australia also modified its ‘Holiday Here This Year’ campaign messaging to include a call to action for agents. Here is a summary of the campaign activity which encourages Australian’s to talk to their local travel agent:

Date: 26 October 2020 to 21 December 2020
Call to action: Plan your trip at or talk to your local travel agent today
Travel agents included in both 15 sec radio scripts
Networks: SCA, ARN, TSRN
Reach: 11.1 Million

Date: 2 November 2020 – 23 November 2020
Call to action: So plan your trip at or talk to your local travel agent
Publications: News Corp, ACM networks
Reach: 2.3 Million

Date: Travel takeover week 31 January 2021 – 6 February 2021
Call to action: Visit or talk to your local travel agent today
Publications: News Corp, Nine, 7West and ACM
Reach: 5.2 Million

Date: Industry Always On 9 February to June 2021
Call to action: Plan an incredible trip with your local travel agent today
Publications: News Corp, Nine, 7West and ACM
Reach: 4.6 Million

Finally, on Tuesday 2 March 2021 AFTA will be running a special milestone webinar in partnership with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and featuring the ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.