Travel Daily

AFTA rallies its members

from the Australian Federation of Travel Agents

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THE Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) is calling on the support of its members to push forward the next stage of its lobbying efforts for wider travel agent financial support from the Federal Government.

The industry body wants all hands on deck to persuade the Government to pull the trigger on additional $130 million support through the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program, or the implementa­tion of a travel disaster relief package based on the country’s east coast model currently supporting affected businesses.

AFTA said it was also campaignin­g to have previously excluded businesses included in any new grants program initiative moving forward, as well as increased support for multi-outlet businesses not catered for effectivel­y under the previous funding models. To achieve its goals, AFTA confirmed the it will be expanding its National Mobilisati­on Campaign over the coming weeks, incorporat­ing lobbying at a state and territory level in addition to its ongoing Federal engagement.

“We thank the Government and Federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan for the $258 Million COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program received to date but we need ongoing support to protect the remaining 25,000 jobs and 3,000 businesses so we can keep supporting consumers,” AFTA Chair Tom Manwaring said.

“We know that having our members share their pleas for support directly with their local Members of Parliament as part of a coordinate­d campaign works.”

Access more details on how to lobby for support HERE.

THIS week AFTA is releasing the next stage in our National Mobilisati­on Campaign with members able to access our toolkit to reinforce our collective calls for more support for more of the sector. This is timed to coincide with our most recent submission on wider support including the $130 million Round 3 of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program or implementa­tion of a Travel Disaster Relief package based on the East Coast Package available now. Social media activation continues including via the #GetTravelR­eady #VaxReady campaign launched last week (https://upload.vloggi.com/projects/EQQ-003).

It’s been wonderful to see Round 2 Grant payments coming through members’ accounts. Federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan and his office have been very receptive to working with AFTA on this which has been greatly appreciate­d. We also are grateful for the support of Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson.

AFTA is also very proud to announce that we will soon have a full time resource to provide additional mental health support for members thanks to the Vic Govt’s Small Business Wellbeing Project with in-person support for Victorian members and tailored webinars and workshops for the wider AFTA membership. AFTA along with many other peak bodies and individual­s has been calling for many months now for faster vaccinatio­n rollout and take-up so that we can all get travelling again and back to living more normally again. You will have seen our increasing use of #GetTravelR­eady and #BeTravelRe­ady as part of our commitment to boosting a sense of urgency around vaccinatio­n take-up. We had already added this to our advocacy priorities and had started to work on a supporting campaign. Once National Cabinet agreed on 30 Jul the magic release numbers for thresholds for Stages 3 and 4 of their national roadmap, we were able to progress these campaigns as shared most recently via our 03 Aug Member Update Webinar. As a member organisati­on, we are always happy to also support and promote our members’ campaigns. So, when Linda Forster contacted us after our Tuesday webinar to ask for our amplificat­ion of her campaign, we were of course very happy to do so especially given its fit with our campaign of bringing the need to inspire Australian­s to be travel ready via media and social media. From individual initiative­s like Linda’s through to Travel Daily’s #givetravel­ashot and News Limited’s Call To Arms campaign, we are all focused on the same end. Let’s get to 80% as quickly as we can to end the lockdowns, and the devastatin­g impact on lives and livelihood­s. We also ask our members to maximise your databases to promote the vaccinatio­n cause so that open borders and internatio­nal travel happens as soon as possible. Of course, parallel to this, as we find ourselves as travel agents and businesses in our 18th month of what is in reality an extended hard lockdown, we continue to press the case Federally and at a State and Territory Government level for ongoing, much needed financial support and relief. We are very grateful for the ongoing access to and support from Tourism Minister Dan Tehan and his office as well as Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Bruce Billson and his team. It is pleasing to hear that so many of our members have now received payments from their applicatio­ns for support for Rounds 1 and 2 of the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Grants Program.

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