The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has launched a
vigorous lobbying campaign calling for the Australian government to get
behind the sector as it struggles with recovery from the Covid pandemic.
The association says most of its members are still navigating vacancy
rates of 30% plus in front-line positions “and there needs to be a wide
understanding of the value and plight of Australia’s travel sector”.
AFTA chief executive Dean Long, who has been lobbying politicians on
behalf of the travel sector, says: “Advocacy that has impact requires
not just flagging problems but also providing solutions.”
Among measures being sought by AFTA to relieve staff shortages are
wage subsidies for trade apprenticeships, sponsorship of migrant workers
in all skilled occupations and the temporary relaxation of student visa
work limits so that international students can work more than 40 hours a
fortnight until the workforce is replenished.
Dean said visitor economy occupations should be on the priority list
for help “due to the acute skills and labour shortages the sector
And it is not only travel agencies who are short of staff. Sydney
Airport continues to struggle to process outbound passengers through
Travellers were again hit by long delays this week with check-in queues snaking out of the airport terminal.
A spokesperson for Sydney airport said staff shortages, exacerbated
by staff sickness, were to blame for the extended wait times.