AFTA view

DARREN Rudd, Chief Executive Officer

From DARREN Rudd, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Federation of Travel Agents

On Friday 28 August we lodged our Pre-Budget Submission which sets out a compelling case for the Federal Government to provide a travel agent support package of $125 million as well as a range of additional business measures — an essential ask if our industry is to get through to the other side of COVID-19 safely.

In fact, securing government financial support at both federal and state/territory levels has been AFTA’s single biggest focus throughout the last month.

Promptly following the submission lodgement, we launched the National Mobilisation Program — a grassroots, collaborative and strategic approach which was all about harnessing the power of our AFTA members.

The program asked for member support in contacting and arranging a meeting with their local Federal MP to continue to build the momentum and make sure every single Federal Member of Parliament knows about the plight of travel agents, tour operators and travel wholesalers.

A toolkit was developed to assist members with the process and to ensure maximum impact through aligned messaging.

Pleasingly, members have taken up the calling. We’ve received reports that our members right around Australia secured meetings with their local federal Parliamentarians during September and we’re seeing this reflected in the media.

Additionally, myself, AFTA Chair Tom Manwaring and several other Board members have participated in some of these meetings and I’m hearing back from politicians how impressed they are with the passion, resilience, determination and professionalism of travel agents as they truly get to understand you for the first time.

In fact, something changes when parliamentarians hear the passion, pain and commitment direct from our members and it’s that change that we need to keep driving right up until the Federal Budget announcement on 6 October.


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