Travel Daily

Austrade grant update


AUSTRADE has confirmed there are 189 claims still to be finalised under Round 2 of the Consumer Travel Support Program which opened almost five months ago (TD 03 May), but has not detailed the actual amount of money so far distribute­d from the $258m offered under the scheme.

In response to a request from Travel Daily, an Austrade spokespers­on said under Round 1 of the program, 3,223 applicatio­ns for funding were approved, while 2,050 Round 2 applicatio­ns have been greenlit at this stage.

“The Government is considerin­g options for further support for the tourism and travel sector,” the spokespers­on told TD, without providing further informatio­n on whether further funds remain.

AFTA Chairman Tom Manwaring said the Federation remained frustrated by the ongoing delays in finalising the second round of the grants program, “given the dire situation in our industry at large and in particular within our membership businesses”.

“Urgent finalisati­on is required along with advancing the Grant 3 submission approvals,” he said.

“The projected start of internatio­nal travel by Dec... does not diminish the need for continued support for the travel sector,” Manwaring said.

The AFTA Chair said “scale of supply - for both air and cruising” was needed for travel businesses to become self-sufficient again.

“This can only be accomplish­ed with full confidence by consumers in travel processes, eliminatio­n of quarantine for all vaccinated travellers and permanent border openings,” he added.

The Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) echoed AFTA’s concerns, noting that while there is plenty of anticipati­on around border openings, “most members of CATO will not genuinely be in a position to recognise revenue until well into next year”.

“Without ongoing government support, our industry will not have the capacity to invest, re-employ and prepare for the expected rush of enquiries for new bookings due to pent-up travel demand and consumers wanting to confirm use of future travel credits that are on file,” a CATO spokespers­on told TD.

“Those that believe travel businesses will quickly return to pre-COVID levels just because borders are open are simply not listening to our case and appeals for ongoing support.”

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