In an Australian first, travel agents in Western Australia are to be
offered a financial package to help navigate their businesses through
the crippling impact of Covid-19.
Western Australian travel agents will be able to access support from a
state government fund which will provide packages of up to A$5,000
(US$3,650) for eligible home-based agents and minimum A$10,000 packages
for brick-and-mortar businesses.
Agents in Western Australia say they draw up to 90% of their income
from Australians travelling overseas and have been severely impacted by
the federal government’s ban on international travel.
They have refunded an estimated A$70 million of travel credits and
vouchers on behalf of customers while unable to generate income for
Perth travel agent Scott Campbell, of Best4Travel, said the government help was “a step in the right direction”.
“It’s good that the state government has recognised the job we have been doing for the last six months,” he added.
A recent Australian Federation of Travel Agents member survey showed
98% of the organisation’s member travel agents have seen revenues drop
by 90% and more as a result of the pandemic.
Christine Ross-Davies, owner of Attadale Travel, said travel agents
had effectively been under a trade embargo ever since the federal
government shut off international travel.
State minister for tourism and small business, Paul Papalia, said
Western Australia was the “first and only state in the country to
implement a dedicated travel agent support programme of this kind”.
“The state government recognises the important work local agents have
been doing to refund customers’ travel credits and vouchers from
airlines, hotels and tourism companies right around the world.”
Travel agents will need to show that they have lost 75% of their
revenue to be eligible for financial support from a financial package
valued at A$3 million.