ATAC Member and owner of Holiday and Cruise Centre in Ballarat, Nicole King recently shared the plight of what all travel agents are facing with the Herald Sun newspaper and on ABC Radio. Read the full article here.
A travel agent in Ballarat has called for a vital funding injection into Australia’s travel industry, which she says has been hit harder by the pandemic than by the 9/11 attacks.
A Ballarat travel agent whose business has been “decimated” by the coronavirus pandemic has backed an industry call for a $125 million government support package.
Holiday and Cruise Centre owner Nicole King said she had to move her office into her home in August to save costs and had placed all of her staff members on JobKeeper.
“It’s decimated the industry, we’ve had no income since February … we’ve probably worked the hardest we ever have and under the most stressful conditions,” she said.
“Within the travel industry we’ve had so many things thrown at us … 9/11, there’s been terrorist attacks and some of our domestic carries have gone bust all of those have been nothing compared to COVID-19.
“There is just nothing at all that I could have even planned to have every bit of work that has to be refunded and no income.”
The Australian Federation of Travel Agents is calling on the government to bankroll a $125 million support package to help the country’s 4000 travel agencies.
Australia’s travel industry employs 40,000 people and contributes $28 billion each year to the economy, and 70 per cent of international travel is booked through agents, according to information provided by AFTA.
It estimates up to a quarter of businesses will close as a result of the economic fallout from the virus.
The industry hasn’t received any support outside of the standard coronavirus support packages offered to all businesses such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker.
In contrast, other industries have received hundreds of millions of dollars in monetary relief, including builders through the home builder scheme ($688 million), Arts and entertainment ($250 million), film and television ($400 million), and aviation ($1.1 billion).
Mrs King urged the public to get out and back small businesses where they could.
“Once the borders do reopen, I think trying to support their local travel agent if possible is really important,” she said.
“Some of the website booking sites, that money goes overseas not supporting local, they might be staying at a local place but it’s actually internationally based.
“People need to be really aware where their dollars are going.”
Source: Herald Sun