If the Federal Government fails to extend JobKeeper beyond March 28 for the travel sector, 8 in 10 Australians still working in the travel sector will be out of a job and 3 in 10 businesses forced to close.

AFTA CEO Darren Rudd joins dave to explain a further 52% of entity respondents to a survey by peak industry body The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) are uncertain of their ability to continue to operate.

With travel agents spending the majority of their time (on average 81%) helping Australian consumers secure an outstanding estimated $2 Billion in refunds and credits for COVID-impacted travel from international airlines, hotels, tour operators, this is also dire news for consumers.

AFTA has released interim results from its member survey which shows of the 1513 respondents:

  • 67% are SME retail leisure agencies;
  • 94% are dealing with a decline in revenue of 90% (with 99% experiencing at least a 70% decline);
  • 80% of the workforce of travel agents businesses are women;
  • 81% of all travel businesses’ work is helping customers with COVID-impacted travel;
  • 43% believe they are unlikely to return to profit until 2023.

AFTA’s ask which is also reinforced in the pre-Budget submission continues to be:

ultra106.5fm is proudly supported by:
  1. The evolution and extension of JobKeeper in a tailored way until one quarter after the international border is liberated;
  2. The allocation of any funds outstanding from the first round of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program via a second program round with an amended payment scale to address issues already identified.

AFTA is working closely with other bodies including CATO, CLIA, TTF, BCA, and ACCI to keep the pressure on and ensure the need for sector support remains at the forefront of political deliberations. This is being achieved through a combination of direct advocacy at a Ministerial, MP, Senator and local level and via strategic media engagement.

Quotes from AFTA CEO Darren Rudd:
“The travel sector is grateful for Government support to date via the Grants Support Program but in this our darkest period, we need ongoing support in a renamed, repurposed JobKeeper equivalent for our sector.”

“Without this, our sector will be decimated, leaving Australian consumers with nowhere to turn to assist with the estimated $4 Billion in refunds from global airlines, hotels and tour operators. Collapse of our sector will also leave the country without the skill set to support the COVID minefield of travel once the international border is liberated.”

“JobKeeper has been critical in helping travel businesses keep the doors open and support customers with cancellations, refunds and credits and we need Travelsectorkeeper moving forward.”

“The interim survey results reveal some distressing statistics and highlight the critical need for ongoing help. Without it, when JobKeeper ends on March 28, we will see 8 in 10 people still working in travel out of a job, and 3 in 10 businesses having to close with a further 52% uncertain about their future.”