[20 June 2020:] Australian Federation of Travel Agents Chair Tom Manwaring and CEO Darren Rudd have secured an opportunity to appear before the Senate Select Committee into COVID-19 to reinforce the case for on-going, tailored support for Australia’s 2,000 travel businesses and 40,000 employees.
Amongst the organisations appearing today are DFAT, Austrade, Tourism Australia, and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Quotes attributable to Darren Rudd, AFTA CEO
“This is an important opportunity to widen political support and understanding of the compelling need for specific and sustained support for travel agents above and beyond a tailored extension of JobKeeper.”
“Travel agents were the first hit by COVID because of the unique nature of the travel payment ecosystem and they will be the last to recover, especially given the devasting impact of the international travel ban and hard domestic border closures. The impact on consumer and business confidence can not be underestimated.”
“Our members have seen revenue falls of 90 to 100% and until travel resumes which is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels before 2024, there’s simply no income on the horizon. In the meantime, they are spending hours and days managing refunds and credits for their clients. This is an incredibly complex and complicated process given every airline, hotel and tour operator has their own Terms and Conditions and more often than not, the local support office is shut. This support generates no income for agents. In a snapshot, we are the only sector in the entire tourism industry and broader Australian economy spending this year giving back last year’s revenue.””
“I welcome the opportunity to appear before the Senate Select Committee and share our members’ stories and the desperate need for agent-specific financial support and relief measures.”