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AFTA calls for urgent additional and expanded support


12 July 2021: The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) today highlighted the increasingly urgent need for widespread support for the travel sector given the immediate and flow-on impacts of the Sydney lockdown.

As a result of the COVID restrictions in Greater Sydney and wider NSW, state and territory borders as well as the Trans Tasman Safe Travel Zone are rapidly closing with significant ramifications for travel agents and businesses.

An estimated 15,000 jobs have already been lost in Australia’s travel sector with recovery only possible with the resumption of international travel for most Australians.

AFTA also continues to work closely with Austrade and the Federal Government to accelerate and support the distribution of the $258 Million in support through the COVID-2019 Consumer Travel Support Program to the eligible small and medium agencies however more support for the entire sector is needed. Austrade have advised the following:

Round One

  • 3,859 claims have been received and 106 are currently under review.
  • 3,154 payments have been made to date (8 July 2021) totalling $103 million.

Round Two

  • 1,206 payments have been made to date (8 July 2021) totalling $25.2 million.
  • Austrade is currently responding to 174 emails sent to consumertravelsupport@austrade.gov.au

To date (as at 8 July 2021), a total of 1,015 financial verifications have been referred to Deloitte for applicants with over $500,000 in turnover. 160 verifications are now complete and have been referred to Services Australia. Deloitte has issued log-in details to 1,009 applicants for access to the online Halo platform and is continuing to issue these requests as they are received.

Quotes attributable to AFTA Chair Tom Manwaring
“The reality is that with borders slamming shut domestically and the Trans Tasman Safe Travel Zone closed more often than it’s open, Australia’s travel agents and businesses are in a worse situation than we were this time last year.”

“Each and every border closer and travel restriction kneecaps consumer confidence not just in travelling but also in booking. For travel agents, it also means a mountain of work at a time when income is almost non-existent and has been for 18 months. Consumers need us more than ever to support them through the cancellation maze.”

“We need more support and we need it now for all those businesses impacted by these restrictions.”

“We continue to ask Austrade for more haste in deploying the much needed funds from Consumer-19 Travel Support Program to the eligible small and medium travel agencies in crisis.”

Media Contact – LJ Loch 0488 038 555 lj.loch@afta.com.au

Notes for Editors;
The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) is the peak body in Australia representing the retail travel industry. Founded in 1957, AFTA represents the majority of travel agents in Australia and includes all of the major travel agency groups.
AFTA is supporting the travel agency community, travelling public and travel suppliers to the best of our ability during this COVID-19 pandemic.