Travel Agent NewsWestern Australia state government is the country's first to offer $A3 million dedicated to aid travel agents.

Help is the way for Australia's struggling travel agents

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International travel ban has hit agents in the hip pocket.
International travel ban has hit agents in the hip pocket.

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 their businesses.

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.

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