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COVID-19: an important update from AFTA

AFTA continues to make progress

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents’ (AFTA) ongoing campaign to support travel agents, advocate at a political and regulatory level and boost consumer and mainstream media awareness continues to deliver results.


While the primary focus over the last week has been centred on making sure travel agents and the public understand what is appropriate and why cancellation fees are necessary, the formal and active engagement of key decision makers and influencers has also continued.


In addition to ongoing engagement with key Federal decision makers, last week AFTA formally communicated with all State Consumer Affairs Ministers as part of The Facts on Refunds campaign.



AFTA continues to proactively and strategically engage with mainstream media on refunds and cancellations including through ongoing briefings of all major newsrooms and regular interviews across high-profile media outlets.


A total of 35 webinars have now taken place since March with more than 6,000 attendees benefiting from a wide range of topics and experts. The focus on the webinars and resource development is on providing members with practical, relevant information to navigate the current challenges.


Upcoming webinars for the week beginning 11 May include Dubai Tourism Webinar (12 May), Travel Insurance (13 May), Embracing Change with Steve Price (14 May) and the regular weekly wrap with AFTA CEO Jayson Westbury (15 May). To register and access recorded webinars, visit


"AFTA’s message to the state premiers and chief ministers as they implement the three steps announced post the National Cabinet to forget the road to recovery, we need to be on the runway to recovery and the travel sector is at the core of that recovery," AFTA CEO Jayson Westbury said.


"With travel of substance not potentially recognised until states and territories get to step 3, we need to make sure that things get moving as quickly as possible."


"This week our engagement work has included dialogues with all State and Territory Consumer Affairs Ministers in addition to key Federal Ministerial Offices and Ministers, the ACCC, the ATO, various industry associations, suppliers and international bodies about the ongoing challenges of ensuring consumers are aware of the facts on cancellations and refunds.


"AFTA also continues to proactively and strategically engage with mainstream media to spotlight our hard working travel agents and your efforts in supporting your customers."


"As many consumers have found out during this pandemic, the cancellation process is not simple. In the current market, the time needed to cancel often complex itineraries, negotiate with multiple suppliers, establish and read the plethora of supplier-issued terms and conditions and work out what is in the client’s best interest and then action an outcome takes significant time. For example, every single one of the 135 airlines operating in Australia have different Terms and Conditions governing cancellations and refunds. In these circumstances, it is completely unreasonable to expect any agent to work for free."


The AFTA information flyer on cancellations and refunds can be read here.


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