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AFTA's engagement with the accc delivers for agents and consumers

[Wednesday 27th January:] Increased engagement between The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) and The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has seen updates to the ACCC website that provide consumers with more useful information to help manage expectations around COVID travel restrictions.

The updated information on the ACCC website can be found at the link here.

The ACCC has also added a new question advising consumers what they should do before booking travel which is available at this link here.

AFTA has announced it will be hosting a special webinar for members with Delia Rickard from the ACCC. The interactive webinar, which will take place in February or March 202, will be an opportunity for AFTA/ATAS members to hear from the ACCC as well as provide feedback and discuss any concerns.

Comments from AFTA CEO Darren Rudd:
"Following a presentation to ACCC in November 2020, AFTA presented a detailed paper with some suggestions to the ACCC."

"We are very pleased to see the ACCC have now updated their website with key additions that will assist travel agents by providing consumers with a more balanced and realistic approach to manage their travel, particularly in terms of refunds."

"In supporting our agents through this difficult time it is critical consumers are being provided with the right information and updates. We are confident the updates on the ACCC website will help manage expectations around COVID travel bookings and refunds moving forward."

"AFTA worked very closely with the ACCC throughout 2020 and we will continue to do so throughout 2021. We look forward to hosting an interactive webinar in Feb/March which will give our members the opportunity to hear from and participate in discussion with ACCC Deputy Commissioner Delia Rickard."

- ENDS -

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.