AFTA poll confirms impact
THE Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has today revealed the first results of its “Travel sector keeper” survey, revealing that more than 40% of the industry does not expect to return to profit until 2023.
The survey, circulated last week (TD 17 Feb), had garnered more than 1,500 responses by Sat, with the interim figures already shared with Tourism Minister Dan Tehan as well as key MPs ahead of Liberal and National Party room meetings this week.
Of the entities which responded, 94% are dealing with a decline in revenue of 90%, while 99% have experienced at least a 70% decline.
The travel businesses which participated said 81% of their work was in helping customers with COVID-impacted travel arrangements, while four out of five people in the industry workforce are women.
AFTA said the figures reinforced the urgency of measures in its pre-Budget submission, including the “evolution and extension of JobKeeper in a tailored way until one quarter after the international border is liberated”.
The Federation is also urging the allocation of any outstanding funds from the first round of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program, via a second round with an amended payment scale to address identified flaws.
“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,” said AFTA CEO Darren Rudd.
“This is our darkest period... we need ongoing support in a renamed, repurposed JobKeeper equivalent for our sector.”
Rudd said the distressing figures revealed by the survey showed that when JobKeeper ends on 28 Mar, eight in 10 people still working in travel will be out of a job, while 30% of businesses will close and another 52% face an uncertain future.