Thirty travel agencies ‘Zoomed’ with Federal Member for Flinders and Minister for Health, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, last week to brief him on AFTA’s request for a $125 million tailored financial support package.
AFTA Chair Tom Manwaring joined travel agencies big and small from the Flinders electorate to brief Minister Hunt on the critical need for financial aid ahead of the Federal Budget.
Managing Director of Mornington Travel, Lee Midson, arranged the meeting with fellow Mornington Peninsula travel agencies and supported AFTA’s ‘strength in numbers’ approach to championing the agent cause Australia-wide.
“From big travel brands to independents, we saw a diverse cross-section of local travel agents come together today online to support each other and our cause,” said Lee.
“Working together is the best way for us to navigate our way through the COVID-19 challenge.”
“I was moved by our chairman’s comments around the struggles we are all facing as fellow travel business owners, and the reality that because we represent a sector within a sector Federal Government support is essential to help us keep helping our customers into 2021.”
“Minister Hunt understood the unique challenges facing travel agents and encouraged the Industry to continue to engage with their local members and states,” said Lee.
“We need our domestic borders to be open so that hopefully future demand for domestic travel can help kick start a recovery in the travel and tourism industry”.
“He said the first international borders to open will likely be New Zealand and the Pacific Region, but there is no solid date at this stage.”
AFTA CEO Darren Rudd said the meeting provided more proof of local AFTA members resonating with key Federal decision-makers.
“I’m pleased to hear that Minister Hunt, as a frequent user of travel agents, understands the inherent value that travel agents bring and understands the situation AFTA members are currently facing,” Rudd remarked.
“In the lead up to the Federal Budget it’s critical we keep connecting with each other and our local politicians, and I warmly thank Lee for organising yesterday’s meeting.”
“I encourage AFTA members to use AFTA’s National Mobilisation Program toolkit if they have yet to do so and contact their local Federal Representative.”
Tasman bubble back on the radar
Meanwhile, Hunt has stated the government is working “at speed” to enable the Tasman bubble to launch as soon as possible.
“We’re not requiring that New Zealand allows Australians back immediately, but they are working towards it. So we’d like to be able to allow friends, family [and] tourists to come to Australia,” Minister Hunt told The Today Show.
Hunt said the current situation across the ditch was “very safe”.
“We understand they have to consider Australia’s position, so we’re happy to do it as a one-way to start, but we would expect that given the numbers in Australia, New Zealand would be in a position to accept Australians shortly without having to quarantine.
“That’s a tremendous step forward. Both countries are working well and we’re working at speed,” he said.
Lead image: MP Greg Hunt/Facebook