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Travel has been in hard lockdown since March 2020


3 August 2021: More support is desperately needed for the travel sector which has been in hard lockdown since March 2020.

With 15,000 jobs already gone in Australia’s travel sector, the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) today warned that ongoing and wider Government support until international travel normalises is critical to protect jobs and businesses so that the travel sector can continue to support consumers.

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
  • 70% of this international travel was booked through Australian travel agents
  • 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 (available for interview as are travel agents in each state and territory)
“Our sector has been in hard lockdown for 18 months now since the international travel ban was imposed with revenue falls of 90 per cent plus across almost all travel agents and businesses from the moment the international travel ban was imposed.”

“We have already lost a third of our sector and we need support for the remaining 25,000 jobs and 3,000 travel agencies and businesses.”

“Australia’s travel agents are a critical support for consumers navigating COVID lockdowns and border shutdowns. Travel agents have successfully secured $8 Billion worth of credits and refunds for COVID-impacted travel from suppliers (hotels, airlines, tour operators, cruise lines etc) on behalf of their customers with $2 Billion still outstanding. As so many consumers have discovered, travel agents are essential given the challenges of COVID. Without a travel agent, you really are on your own.”

“We are very grateful for the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program which has seen $258 Million in support for Australian travel and tourism businesses including travel agents. But we need the support from Rounds 1 and 2 of the grants program to flow more quickly to those eligible agents and, given the ongoing pause in outbound travel, we need this support extended and supplemented urgently across the entire travel sector. We were the first hit and will be the last to recover with that only possible after international travel resumes.”

“We urge all Australians to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Media Contact: LJ Loch 0488038555 lj.loch@afta.com.au