The Australian Government will provide a one-off payment to assist travel agents in recognition that many continue to work hard processing consumer refunds, whilst unable to trade due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federal Member for Calare, and Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education, Andrew Gee said the local travel industry have been doing it tough, with international and domestic border closures causing ongoing uncertainty for the sector.
“The past 12 months have delivered the most challenging circumstances our tourism industry has faced, with last summer’s devastating bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the fragility of the sector,” Mr Gee said.
“Over the last year, many of our local travel agents in the Central West have had to refund existing bookings, while continuing to work with little to no income.
“This one-off payment recognises the exceptional circumstances that our travel agents are currently operating in and will help keep them afloat at a time when they are continuing to hold travel credits for consumers who have previously cancelled travel.”
Under the $128 million scheme, eligible travel agents with a turnover of between $50,000 and $20 million a year will be able to apply for the one-off payment.
Payments will be scaled, with a minimum payment of $1500 for a business with a turnover of $50 000 up to a maximum payment of $100,000 for a business with a turnover of $20 million.
“This one-off payment will ensure our Central West travel agents remain resilient throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and as the tourism sector starts to recover,” Mr Gee said.
“There is an enormous appetite to get out there and explore Australia, especially when it comes to discovering our regions.
“Travel agents have and will continue to play a big part in helping Aussies plan their next great escape.”