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Looking forward to detail on International Border reopen

• Welcome news of international border reopening to double vaccinated international tourists, business travellers and other visa holders
• Support is needed now to enable Australia’s travel agents and businesses to continue to support travelling Australians as international travel normalizes later this year

7 February 2022: The Australian Federation of Travel Agents applauds the Federal Government’s decision to reopen Australia’s borders to fully vaccinated international tourists, business travellers and other visa holders on 21 February after what will be a 704-day suspension.

The acknowledgement from the Prime Minister that the risk posed by double vaccinated travellers is no more than that presented by vaccinated Australians should also speed up the normalisation of travel. This should include allowing cruise ships to again enter Australian waters with the lifting of the current biosecurity emergency measures in place to 17 February.

AFTA looks forward to seeing the details around the re-opening including in relation to vaccination recognition, testing and quarantine requirements and the response from the States and Territory Government.

Australia’s travel agents are helping Australians manage up to $6 Billion in credits for COVID-impacted travel and this, on top of the complexities of travelling in COVID-times, means more and more Australians are relying more heavily on their travel professionals than ever before.

A survey of AFTA members shows revenue for Jan 22 is down 96% from Jan 30, compounding the 80% decline experienced in FY21. On average 51% of all travel businesses’ work is assisting clients to use travel credits for COVID-affected travel.

AFTA is seeking a $190m Travel Sector Skills Retention and Recovery Package including the immediate release of the estimated $66m already allocated to the Travel Sector but so far unspent. Australia’s travel agents need this support to keep supporting Australians until international travel normalises.

Quotes attributable to Dean Long, CEO of AFTA
“The re-opening of our international border to all fully vaccinated travellers from 21 February after more than 700 days is a massive step forward towards travel returning to normal.”

“AFTA looks forward to understanding more detail around the commitment including the response from State and Territory Governments and the details of the vaccine recognition as well as the testing and quarantine requirements.

“We are very grateful that the Federal Government has made the announcement to lift the ban and open our international borders. These next two quarters will be the toughest for Australia’s Travel Sector yet and we will only start seeing revenue benefit flow after international travel normalises.”

“Over 70% of all international travel out of Australia pre-COVID was booked through an Australian travel retailer and we know the complexities of travel in COVID-time mean the reliance on Australia’s travel professionals will climb as international travel returns to normal.”

Media Contact: LJ Loch 0488038555