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AFTA Very disappointed in Qantas BSP decision

20 May 2021: The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) today expressed its disappointment in Qantas’ decision to reduce front-end commissions paid to travel agents on international tickets from 5 per cent to 1 per cent.

AFTA has made strong representations to Qantas on the pressing need to maintain the status quo given travel agents’ primary revenue reliance on international travel and the reality that international travel is unlikely to normalise before mid-2022 at the earliest.

While these representations have resulted in Qantas providing a 1 year lead-in to the reduced commission structure, AFTA and our members are very disappointed and hope that Qantas will work with AFTA to minimise the impact including through optimising agent benefits on QDP.

Statement from the AFTA Board
“AFTA on behalf of our members and the consumers we support is very disappointed.

It’s true there has been a gradual global transition to reduce BSP payments but that transition happened in a pre-COVID world. The reality of COVID and the ongoing paralysis of international travel until at least mid-2022 puts Australia’s travel agents and businesses in a very difficult position.

While we are grateful that Qantas has provided 1 year’s notice of these changes following strong representations from AFTA, the reality is that the ongoing paralysis of international travel to and from Australia has hit travel agents and businesses extremely hard and this is another unwelcome blow.

The AFTA Board notes the longstanding relationship Qantas has had with travel agents and businesses and we ask Qantas to work closely with us to optimise benefits for agents as we move forward including on QDP.”

MEDIA CONTACT: LJ Loch 0488038555

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.

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