[2 September 2020:] The Australian Federation of Travel Agents’ electorate program continues to deliver with Member for Warringah Zali Steggall shining a light in Federal Parliament on the unique challenges facing travel agents.
Ms. Steggall met with Mosman travel agencies in mid-August to discuss the need for ongoing tailored support from Government.
Ms. Steggall told the House of Representatives on Wednesday 26 August:
There are some businesses that, even with this extended lifeline, will struggle to survive, and I urge the government to consider targeted interventions to support those faced with near-complete shutdowns, such as travel agents and those in the events, arts and entertainment sectors.
I must also mention that we need some industry-specific packages, especially when it comes to the travel industry. They've been devastated by border closures both international and domestic. We've had a lot of attention on airlines. Travel agents have received less attention from the media but their situation is arguably more acute. They're continuing to work to secure refunds for their customers but that doesn't bring them any income. I've met with many travel agents, including the CEO of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents. They really need a sector-specific recovery package. They were the first to shut down and, undoubtedly, they will be the last to reopen.
On top of having a vaccine, we must develop a sustainable way of operating in a COVID-safe way in the future. For industries like travel, events, entertainment and many in the arts, this is more than a recession; this is a near 100 per cent shutdown of their business. So we must find plans.
AFTA CEO Darren Rudd has now coordinated 9 visits to local Members and provided the opportunity for 26 travel agents to share their stories directly with political influencers.
Darren Rudd, AFTA CEO said:
“Through AFTA, local travel agents have built a compelling case for Federal change. Tailored Government support for travel agents is critical, and I thank members for working with AFTA to educate Federal politicians on the need to work together in planning the way forward.”
“As we can see here, hearing directly from agents within their electorate resonates with politicians. Zali Steggall now knows how hard agents are working for their customers and the reality that travel agencies will be the last to recover. We thank Ms Steggall and the many MPs who have met with agents from within their electorate and taken their cause up in Parliament. Your support for travel agents and our sector is valued.”
“AFTA and our members will continue to push hard for Government support all over Australia, and will be visiting regional NSW locations like Wollongong next.”