At least a third of the funding allocated by the Federal Government as part of the $258 million COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program remains unspent according to information revealed during Senate Estimates for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation.
This is despite travel businesses across the sector desperately needing support.
“These are businesses who have been living with revenue falls of 90%+ for 700 days since COVID first arrived in Australia, who won’t actually be paid until after travel happens, and who continue to do everything possible to support travelling Australians.
Quotes attributable to AFTA CEO Dean Long
“There have never been businesses more needing of support and to be told as part of the Grant Process that being 90% down in revenue was not enough to be eligible for the full support package is down right abhorrent.”
“There’s up to $6 billion in credits belonging to Australians in the system right now which we are managing on behalf of clients. We need this support to keep supporting Australians.”
“There were problems with the roll-out of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program complicated by a lack of understanding of the Travel Sector and the Travel payment eco-system. AFTA has continued to work closely with Austrade and Government to ensure those businesses that should have been eligible received the support.”
Quotes attributable to CATO CEO Brett Jardine
“Despite vaccine rates rapidly increasing, signifying the resumption of international travel is within sight – we are not out of the woods yet. Our industry doesn’t have time for election promises, what we need is immediate financial support to enable recovery.”
“For many, a lack of income over the last two years combined with employee reduction is a difficult starting point for the anticipated pent up travel demand and will place a lot of pressure on businesses, at a time when they need to re-invest.”
“Australian Tour Operators have lead the supply sector in supporting Australian Agents and consumers through the last two years and even with international borders open, are still more than 90% down on pre-COVID revenue.”
Quotes from Peter Shelley, Managing Director Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC)
“The tourism export industry has lost around $4 bn a month since 2020 and thousands of skilled staff. Businesses are now looking to a restart which will require investment in marketing and bringing product and services up to speed.
“For those tourism exporters who have survived this far, the ability to ramp up is severely limited due to the lack of skilled staff and operating capital, with less capacity to convert high levels of customer inquiries to bookings.
“On behalf of every inbound tourism business in Australia, ATEC is calling on the Government to support the industry as it gets back on its feet. We were the first industry to be hit by the pandemic and we will be the last to recover."
“On behalf of every inbound tourism business in Australia, ATEC is calling on the Government to support the industry as it gets back on its feet. We were the first industry to be hit by the pandemic and we will be the last to recover.”
AFTA LJ Loch 0488038555 email@example.com
CATO Brett Jardine firstname.lastname@example.org
ATEC Julie Smith 0421 029353 email@example.com