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Travel agents say revenue went down by over 100%, survey finds

Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores
20 November 2020 1 minute readShare
Travel agents say revenue went down

Hundreds of travel agents have revealed that their revenue has gone down by more than 100 per cent due to the coronavirus crisis, leading to calls for an urgent support package from the federal government.

According to almost 1,300 distressed travel agents who completed last month’s online survey from the office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO), 98 per cent of them said their revenue has plunged by more than 75 per cent since COVID-19 restrictions were introduced in March.

More alarmingly, over half said their revenue went down by over 100 per cent, meaning they have been paying out more in refunds, including previously made revenue, than they are selling in new business.

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In response, ASBFEO Kate Carnell called for an urgent response from the federal government regarding a critical support package for travel agents who have been decimated by the COVID crisis.

She said travel agents have been clinging by a thread as they wait to hear if there will be a lifeline announced by the federal government.

 

“These travel agents, most of whom are small businesses, need help now,” Ms Carnell said.

“It’s clear these small businesses are in a world of pain and a support package should be announced as a matter of urgency.”

Ms Carnell said travel agents are working hard to negotiate refunds from travel companies and airlines for their customers, with the survey finding that 56 per cent of these small businesses said they would have already closed down if not for their commitment to ensure customers were reimbursed for the holidays they could no longer take.

“Travel agents have been faced with enormous challenges to get back the deposits paid to travel providers such as offshore cruise ship or tour companies on behalf of their customers. A number of travel agents have complained about Qantas specifically, in terms of the length of time it is taking to refund customers,” she said.

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“If these small-business owners were to walk away now, customers would be unlikely to get a refund. That said, travel agents are losing money by keeping their businesses open as they try to do the right thing for their customers.

“With international travel restrictions likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future, this is an incredibly difficult situation for small businesses in the tourism sector, but travel agents are among the hardest hit and they will need targeted support to continue the important work they are doing.”

Travel agents say revenue went down by over 100%, survey finds
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Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores

Adrian Flores is the deputy editor of MyBusiness. Before that, he was the deputy editor for SMSF Adviser as well as features editor for ifa (Independent Financial Adviser), InvestorDaily, Risk Adviser, Fintech Business and Adviser Innovation.

You can email Adrian at [email protected].

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