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AFTA responds to health chief’s dire outlook for travel

Travel agency group confident politicians are listening

Following Dr Brendan Murphy’s recent forecast for travel, in which Australia’s Chief Medical Officer predicted Australia’s borders would likely remain closed throughout 2021, the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has reiterated the “critical need” for ongoing government support for the travel and tourism sector. 


Despite saying in an interview on Sunrise Wednesday that he believed that international travel would resume this year, AFTA CEO Darren Rudd stressed the importance of a renamed and bespoke ‘JobKeeper’ for the whole travel industry.



Further to this, AFTA said it continued to work closely with government and new Tourism and Trade Minister the Hon Dan Tehan over the festive break, while talks with Austrade and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) were ongoing. 


Mr Rudd has also written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the tourism minister and other key politicians in lobbying for a bespoke support package for the travel sector. 


"Until international travel resumes, the reality is that Australia’s Travel and Tourism sector needs ongoing government support," said Rudd, who will be in Canberra for the first week of the Parliamentary sitting (borders permitting).


"I have written to a range of key decision makers within the Federal Government including the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan to formally raise the need for modification to the design and implementation of the support program for our sector. 


"While we hope Department of Health secretary Dr Brendan Murphy is being ultraconservative in his prediction that international travel is unlikely to resume until at least 2022, it will be dependent on the rollout and uptake of COVID vaccination across not only our community but also internationally."


"In speaking to parliamentarians from a range of parties and independents, we are confident they understand the critical importance of keeping the sector afloat." 


"We now need that to be translated into a renamed and repurposed JobKeeper program commencing April 1 specifically for the Travel and Tourism sector."


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Written by: Mark Harada

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