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Media Release: afta meets with new tourism minister at parliment house

[Thursday, 4 February 2021]: The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) Chair, Tom Manwaring, and AFTA CEO Darren Rudd, met with the Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism & Investment on Wednesday.

AFTA Chair Tom Manwaring said that the meeting was a constructive one in which the issues and concerns of the sector were discussed in great detail.

“The Minister spent considerable time listening to us in order to understand, in detail, the nuances of the travel sector’s operations and challenges before moving on to discuss the Grants Program.”

“Minister Tehan acknowledges the distress of businesses within the travel and tourism sector. The Minister is committed to continuing to work with AFTA to support the industry.”

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan thanked AFTA for its constructive engagement with the Government. 

“The Morrison government has supported travel agents through JobKeeper and the $128 million Travel Support Program and it was valuable to hear firsthand from the sector how businesses are coping,” Mr Tehan said.

“I urge all travel agents to submit their grant application for the Travel Support Program as soon as possible.”

It is pleasing to note that through the Federal Government $128 million Travel Support Program over $61 million has been paid to 1,591 travel businesses. A further 1,010 claims are being processed and the industry is encouraged to keep applying until applications close on 13 March 2021.




Notes to 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.

Australian travel agencies have been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. These are the facts:

  • 70% of international travel in Australia is booked through travel agents keeping money in Australia and generating taxes to benefit the Australian economy
  • Prior to COVID, the industry has experienced year on year growth of 11% and maintained growth of 7.25% over the past five years
  • In 2018-19, Australians spent over $46 Billion on international travel, representing the largest import sector of the Australian economy
  • Each year travel agents collect taxes worth $1 Billion and contribute $28 Billion nationally to the economy
  • 71% of the sector are women
  • These are predominantly independently owned small businesses Travel agents have successfully repatriated $6 Billion in refunds and credits from overseas airlines, hotels and tour operators for Australian consumers – there is still $4 Billion outstanding. They have been doing this time consuming and frustrating work for free while having to continue to fund operating costs including GDS fees and insurances to allow this to happen.