IN a rare turn of good news for the travel industry, Federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan confirmed last month that the Federal Government would be releasing the remainder of its $258 million COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program.

The decision followed an anxious period of campaigning from stakeholders as the government showed a continued reluctance to release the remaining funds, however it appears intense lobbying on behalf of the travel sector helped cajole the government to release the remaining $75.5 million.

The window to apply will end on 20 April, with applications to access the support to be allocated in the range of $7,500 to $90,000 for eligible travel agents and tour service providers, who Tehan noted “continue to support travel consumers to rebook their travel plans using COVID-related credits.”

However, the news wasn’t all smooth sailing, with caveats on applying put in place that will restrict access only to those who received a payment in CTSP round two or a round two multi-outlet payment, leaving those who weren’t eligible or did not apply for the second round out in the cold with regards to the latest third tranche of support funding.

Grants will be provided based on the eligible turnover and reference period previously calculated under round two and there will also be a new stream for eligible businesses which commenced operations in the calendar year 2019 and achieved a pro-rata business turnover of between $50,000 and $20 million during that year.

While he welcomed the decision to release the remaining funds, AFTA CEO Dean Long said the industry body would continue to fight to ensure as many businesses as possible will benefit from the announcement and that the battle for further support was far from over.

“AFTA is lobbying to ensure all of those travel businesses that have continued to operate supporting Australians and maintained their ATAS Accreditation do not fall through the cracks,” Long said.

“We must also not lose focus on the remaining elements of our pre-Budget submission. This submission and policy paper details the need for Federal Government support for a Travel Sector Skills Retention and Recovery Package, including $100 million to retain and re-engage travel professionals to address the loss of the 15,000 skilled individuals due to COVID,” he added.