Ninety-nine percent of travel agency businesses have experienced a minimum 70% decline in revenue since the emergence of COVID-19, according to the interim results of The Australian Federation of Travel Agents’ (AFTA) recent Travelsectorkeeper survey.
Along with this near-blanket number, 94% of travel agencies are dealing with a 90% decline in revenue.
Presented to Tourism Minister Dan Tehan and other key government members, the results show the true devastation the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked upon the sector.
Other findings in the survey show that 80% of travel agency staff are women, while 81% of current work involves helping customers with COVID-related travel.
Of the 1,513 entities who had responded as of 20 February 2021, nearly half (43%) believe they are unlikely to return to profit until 2023.
With this in mind, AFTA says it is continuing to push for ongoing Government support including the extension of JobKeeper for the travel sector until one quarter after international borders are opened, and a second round of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program with an amended payment scale.
“The travel sector is grateful for Government support to date via the Grants Support Program but in this our darkest period, we need ongoing support in a renamed, repurposed JobKeeper equivalent for our sector,” AFTA CEO Darren Rudd said.
“Without this, our sector will be disseminated, leaving Australian consumers with nowhere to turn to assist with the estimated $4 Billion in refunds from global airlines, hotels and tour operators.
“JobKeeper has been critical in helping travel businesses keep the doors open and support customers with cancellations, refunds and credits and we need Travelsectorkeeper moving forward.
“The interim survey results reveal some distressing statistics and highlight the critical need for ongoing help. Without it, when JobKeeper ends on March 28, we will see 8 in 10 people still working in travel out of a job, and 3 in 10 businesses having to close with a further 52% uncertain about their future.”
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