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Release of $75.5m in unallocated funds a much needed boost

Australia’s travel and tourism businesses thank the Morrison Government and Federal Tourism Minister the Hon Dan Tehan for the decision to release the outstanding $75.5 million approved as part of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program.

Peak Industry bodies the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) and Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) applaud the decision which will provide much needed support for travel professionals and businesses across Australia supporting outbound and inbound tourism.

The Facts

  • Pre-COVID, 70% of all international bookings in Australia were made through travel agents – this is on the rise with 16% of all new enquiries coming from those using a travel professional for the first time
  • Australia’s travel industry has had revenue falls of 90%+ since the imposition of the international travel ban more than 700 days ago, resulting in15,000 professional jobs, a third of the sector, being lost
  • Up to $6 billion worth of outbound credits for COVID-impacted travel in the system which we are managing on behalf of Australians
  • 52% of bookings are reusing existing credits from COVID-impacted travel
  • On average 51% of all travel businesses’ work is assisting clients using these credits
  • Inbound Tour Operators have had no business for 2 years and now need to invest heavily to convert international booking enquiries, as well as promote Australia to international travellers
  • Bookings finalised today will not convert to revenue for ITO businesses until late this year leaving a significant cash-flow gap in the meantime

Quotes attributable to AFTA CEO Dean Long
“It is critically important that these funds are distributed quickly to those eligible businesses and we believe the revised eligibility framework will facilitate that. Australians travelling are relying on their travel professionals now more than ever and this financial support is needed to start the process of rebuilding including replacing the 15,000 highly skilled people lost across Australia due to the financial devastation of COVID-restrictions and travel bans.”

“Securing support for our people and the wider sector has been an intense campaign which AFTA has invested in over every single day of the past two years. We are very grateful for the ongoing support of Federal Tourism Minister the Hon Dan Tehan and we continue to work closely with the Morrison Government on the recovery of Australia’s Travel Sector.”

“We thank the Minister for taking up our concerns about the initial eligibility framework and implementation of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program and we trust that these issues will not be repeated with the distribution of the remaining $75 million.”

“We also thank Pat Conaghan, Federal Member for Cowper for his sustained effort in championing the need for ongoing support for the Travel Sector along with the many Members of Parliament who have met with and continue to meet with their local travel professionals.”

Quotes from ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley
“While international visitors are now free to come to Australia, our members estimate the gap between borders re-opening and the point at which they are likely to see any meaningful business will be 6-12 months,” ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley said.

“This additional funding will help our ITO’s get over that last hurdle and back into the market providing support in re-tooling these businesses with the experienced staff and booking conversion activity that will be required to rebuild Australia as a destination. We are pleased the Government has recognised the unique needs of these segments of the tourism industry and is willing to support, in particular, the future success of our tourism export businesses.”

Quotes attributable to CATO Managing Director Brett Jardine
“We would like to acknowledge and thank Federal Tourism Minister the Hon Dan Tehan and the Morrison Government for addressing our urgent need for support and provide critical funding to our sector businesses and the wider industry during this time.”

“This will continue to be a challenging 6-12 months ahead for our sector as revenues are not realised until travel takes place, and businesses will be required to honour their commitment to deliver on travel credits. With this funding support, businesses can now start to invest as they rebuild, re-employ and retain staff in the industry, and put in place processes to ensure Australians are able to travel safely and with confidence.”

“Our key focus as an Association during the past two years has been to continually advocate for the much-needed support for our members, to all levels of Government. As a wider industry our close collaboration with AFTA, CLIA, and ATEC has elevated and addressed the concerns of the industry further to Government and the Media.”

Quotes attributable to CLIA Managing Director Joel Katz
“Support for travel agents and other travel industry professionals is critical right now as we work to achieve a recovery in Australia’s travel sector. This latest initiative will provide welcome benefit to thousands of Australian businesses and individuals – many of whom will play a vital role in reviving Australia’s cruise economy and bringing back billions of dollars in economic opportunities for communities around Australia’s coasts.”

“As cruise lines work towards a careful resumption in Australia, it’s important to recognise the key role played by travel agents and other local industry supporters, many of whom have been cut off from their income for the past two years.”

Media Contacts:

AFTA LJ Loch 0488038555 lj.loch@afta.com.au
ATEC Julie Smith 0421 029353 julie@wordsmithmedia.com.au
CATO Brett Jardine bjardine@cato.travel
CLIA Jon Murrie 0400 878 493 jmurrie@cruising.org