Published on Sunday, September 20, 2020
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has welcomed the A$3 million fund to support travel agents in Western Australia.
The scheme gives packages of up to A$5,000 for eligible home-based agents and at least A$10,000 for physical travel agency businesses.
More than 80% of cruise bookings come from travel agencies, and keeping them afloat is essential to the future of the industry, said Joel Katz, CLIA Australasia Managing Director.
However much more needs to be done to help restart the cruise industry.
“While this package will go some way towards assisting travel agents, it is vital that discussions take place to support a long-term plan for the revival of the travel economy. Cruise lines have been working tirelessly on extensive new health measures to uphold safety when the time is right to resume sailing,” Katz said.
“It is important that governments help open a pathway towards recovery for an industry worth more than $5 billion a year to the Australian economy.”
WA’s Small Business Minister, Paul Papalia said agencies will remain in peril for months to come with international borders still closed.
Papalia says the state’s travel agencies generate 90% of their income from customers travelling overseas on holiday.
“The state government recognises the important work local agents have been doing to refund customers’ travel credits and vouchers from airlines, hotels and tourism companies right around the world,” he said.
The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) also welcomed the ‘critically important initiative’ to help local agents stay in business.
“Each and every travel agent in WA and around Australia has been hit by revenue falls of 90% and more. Despite this, they continue to work hard to support their customers,” said AFTA chief executive Darren Rudd.
Written by Ray Montgomery, Asia Pacific editor