AFTER months of pleading their case to what had seemed to be deaf political ears, there was a rare ray of financial sunshine for travel agents in Western Australia last month when the state’s Tourism Minister Paul Papalia announced a $3 million industry assistance fund specifically for the sector.
The initial rollout will see eligible home-based agents receive up to $5,000 in support, while bricks-and-mortar businesses will be given a minimum of $10,000, with Papalia noting the “profound impact” of the Federal Government’s international border closures on the industry. The minister also highlighted that WA was the first and only state to introduce such a program, which aimed to provide support for agents to continue paying their fixed operating expenses “while the Federal Government formulates a longer term solution”.
AFTA CEO Darren Rudd welcomed the support, which he said recognised the ongoing work being done by agents to repatriate billions of dollars in consumer funds. He also paid tribute to the tremendous efforts of local travel agents who had tirelessly pursued the state Government, in particular Christine Ross-Davies of Attadale Travel and Jo-Anne Francis from Global Travel Solutions who “deserve particular acknowledgement for their extraordinary efforts”.