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Lockdowns and the global travel ban must be taken into account by the Covid Inquiry

The Travel Sector supports the Australian Human Rights Commission in its recommendations for an extension of the inquiry’s scope to include lockdowns and border closures because it has been the most severely impacted sector of Australia’s economy as a result of COVID lockdowns and the foreign travel restriction.

In addition, ATIA will request in its submission that the assessment take into account the serious problems with Austrade’s administration of the $270 million in Consumer Travel Support Grant monies.

After Australia’s international border was closed on March 20, 2020, travel agencies and enterprises there saw drastic income drops of at least 95%.

Due to the foreign travel shutdown, travel companies spent COVID dollars without any revenue pursuing $10 billion in credits and refunds on behalf of their clients.

15,000 jobs, or one-third of our employees, were destroyed while the difficulty of pursuing reimbursements was greatly increased.

The ongoing opening and closing of state borders increased the load even more.

Travel is still becoming better. International airfares continue to be much higher, according to the ATIA’s statement to the Senate Committee Inquiry into Bilateral Air Service Agreements. Due to a lack of capacity and competition, flights from Sydney, for instance, are still up to 99% more expensive than they were before COVID.

Dean Long, CEO of the ATIA, stated: “The terms of the inquiry are a good starting point, but we ask that the Government expand the terms of reference to consider the biggest source of impact on our sector – border closures and lockdowns.”

“Australia deserves a unified national approach, and the study needs to examine the policies that had the biggest influence on people’s lives—the restriction on movement—in order to determine what worked and what didn’t. Any evaluation needs to put that at the forefront.

“Ask any travel agent or company that is still in business today, and they will tell you about the numerous, intricate issues that Austrade had in managing the Consumer Travel Support Grant monies from conception to implementation. For a large number of our members, the procedure was frustrating and the strategy was inappropriate. Austrade conducted a review but hasn’t yet made it public. There is no question that there are lessons to be learned from the procedures and strategy used by the department and the government at the time, and that needs to be taken into account by this study.

Source- Travel daily

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