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Ongoing support key for Australia’s Travel Sector

25 June 2021: Even if Australians take up Tourism Australia’s call to take longer holidays to offset the economic impact of COVID shutdowns, until international travel returns, Australia’s travel agents need ongoing Government support.

A new report from Tourism Australia reveals international and state border closures as part of the COVID response cost $80 Billion in lost revenue from inbound tourism.

On top of that, however, is the cost of Australians no longer travelling overseas. In 2018-19, Australians spent over $46 Billion on international travel, the largest import sector of the Australian economy. 70% of this international travel was booked through Australia’s travel agents and until international travel resumes, this is a significant shortfall which can’t and won’t be replaced by domestic travel.

Additional Facts
• 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

Quotes attributable to AFTA Chair Tom Manwaring
“We welcome Tourism Australia’s call for Australians to take more and longer holidays and we urge everyone to book their holidays through their local travel agent. Every little bit helps and, as so many Australians have found, travel agents really are essential in managing the challenges and complexity of travelling in these times.”

“But even the most enthusiastic takeup of holidaying at home won’t be enough to offset the lost revenue to travel agents from Australians travelling overseas. Consumers need travel agents now more than ever and ongoing Government support until international travel resumes is crucial.”

“We have already lost approximately 15,000 jobs in our sector as a result of the COVID shutdown. These are highly-skilled and experienced individuals whom we simply can’t afford to lose.”

“We need more Australians getting vaccinated and being encouraged to get vaccinated. We need greater clarity on the decision triggers for State and Federal Governments on border closures and re-openings.”

“Most of all we need ongoing support for Australia’s travel agents and businesses who are performing such important work in supporting customers and whose skill and expertise will be so heavily relied on as Australians start travelling again given the complexities of COVID-travel.”

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.