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Working together for the results we need

 • Ongoing push for Travel Sector Skills Retention and Recovery Package ($190m package including the remaining estimated $66m underspend from the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program)

• AFTA and member advocacy aligned with Parliamentary return and Budget process
• 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

1 February 2022: AFTA’s push for ongoing support continues with the lodgement of its Pre-Budget submission calling for 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.

AFTA CEO Dean Long is also in Canberra for face to face briefings while AFTA members continue to update their local MPs on the need for ongoing support and resumption of international travel as part of AFTA’s ongoing member campaign.

AFTA’s recommendations to Government are:
1. that the Government implement a Travel Sector Skills Retention and Impaired Recovery Package at a cost of $190 million, to be partially offset from the remaining $66 million underspend from the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program (CTSP) and $124 million in new funding. This program could be established quickly by using a modified verification process from Round Two of the CTSP.
- that the Government adjust the eligibility criteria to include previously excluded businesses and to implement a new streamlined but robust verification process for applicants who were not verified or not eligible for Round Two of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program. AFTA further recommends a new operational test for all applicants.

2. that the Government implement a Travel Industry JobStarter Package, similar to the International Aviation Support Program, which would provide a payment of $10,000 per new or reengaged employee by a travel business.

3. that the Government establish a market identification working group to analyse strategic markets to establish if there is a mutual demand for travel to Australia and Australians to specific markets. New data sets should be created and updated yearly with funding to support this priority committed over the medium term. The working group should include relevant stakeholders in the tourism and travel ecosystem: transport, distribution, and trade associations.

4. that the Tourism Labour Force Survey be reinstated, providing policymakers and industry with an accurate and contemporary picture of the tourism and hospitality industry to underpin effective policy development and industry strategy.

Quotes attributable to Dean Long, CEO of AFTA
“We are very grateful for the ongoing support of Federal Tourism Minister the Hon Dan Tehan and his office as well as the many, many Members of Parliament who continue to share the experiences of travel retailers within their electorates and support our calls for support.”

“We are also grateful for the effort of our Members and the wider Sector in continuing to brief their local Members of Parliament and for strategically channelling their frustration with the current financial reality. This approach is appropriate and strategic and we are encouraged by the ongoing small but positive signs that our calls for additional support to allow us to keep supporting travelling Australians are being heard.”

“Our members are successfully managing up to $6bn in credits for their customers for COVID-impacted travel from hotels, airlines, tour operators and cruise lines but there’s still $2bn outstanding. These credits for rebooked travel account for more than half of the current bookings.”

“Australians are already turning to us to help them with domestic bookings more than ever before and, when international travel eventually resumes, based on trends in other markets, we expect the 70% of all international bookings made by Australians pre-COVID through Australian travel retailers to soar.”

“A third of our Sector has been lost due to almost 700 days in lockdown as a result of the Federal Government’s international travel ban. We need Government support to rebuild that workforce and skills lost so we can meet this increasing corporate and consumer demand, especially as international travel normalises.”

“Our ask of the Federal Government is simple – please support us so that we can keep supporting travelling Australians.”

Media Contact: LJ Loch 0488038555