It's coming up to 14/15 months later, whereby the effects of COVID-19 decimated the Travel Industry. Without a doubt, every travel agent and travel agency business has been 'fighting' and 'protesting' and 'lobbying' to have their voice heard. We have attempted on many levels to make our opinion count, ensure the powers above understand, somewhat the struggles that we all have been facing over this time!
We have all raised our concerns to the powers above. We have all faced roadblocks at each element of "some hope" that we have crossed. We have all praised the powers above when we have been awarded funds within the grants offered to us. We have all had hope.
It was October of last year that the Government announced their First Round of the 128 Million Dollar 'recovery' programme, which was initially based on Turnover and Financial Year. This was finalised the week of Christmas Eve of last year with changes to GST Turnover and Calendar Year. This meant, business such mine should have been awarded $100,000 but were awarded $11,000.
We all took to the powers and completed surveys, lobbied, and voiced our opinions via many media channels with anger and frustration. We all thank you for the opportunity to have been allowed to partake in this. Though, was this enough? Did anyone listen?
Early of this year, further businesses collapsed, some went into liquidation and administration. Some just disappeared. With the constant 'fight' with many agents trying to get their point across, the term "decimated" was wearing thin! The travel industry by no means is on track to recover in the years to come.
In mid-late March, early April of this year, the industry heard of a Round 2 Grant being offered. This grant contained a "Loan" and "Recovery Grant" of which, without finer details made aware to us, there was some hope.
The terms and conditions surrounding the SME Recovery Loan sounded hopeful. Many businesses were in the mind of the loan would re-pay/ consolidate business debt and, of course, put them back on track (with some pressure) eased to move forward.
The terms and conditions of the Recovery Grant, V2 remained unclear, though, what was rumoured it would be based on Turnover, which of course, made a lot more sense! It was rumoured that the grant would be available to apply for by late April 2021.
Today, 30th April 2021 - The travel industry remains on thin ice. The Government Recovery Grant V2 HAS BEEN DELAYED until sometime in May, and as of just last week, another major wholesaler/ tour operator has ceased trading and gone into liquidation.
Many business owners have been declined The Government Recovery Grant V1 due to circumstances they did not meet the "criteria". With the SME Loan option being available, it is not because the financial lenders have the power to override the Australian Treasury terms and conditions and have all stated that they require working capital to assist!
Please explain to me how we are to have working capital when the business has ceased 100%, and we are all in a negative and been forced to close their retail/ corporate space.
Please explain to me how the Government can put an abundance of clauses on their "grants" and "loans" where they are trying to make themselves look good, but in fact, they are doing more damage.
Why is this process not simple to us when all we have been asking is to be fair! Please give our industry the right that it deserves. An industry that was valued to the Australian Economy at around 76% has been treated appallingly.
Since 2021 commenced, several wholesalers, cruise liners, tour operators, retail/ corporate businesses, and airlines have ceased trading! The hurricane of disaster and destruction continues. The delay of refunds continue, and many credit notes remain.
Without International Borders opening anytime soon, this leaves the Travel Industry that once was an exciting industry to be working in will be left to fade away and be that distant memory that we all remember COVID-19 destroyed people's lives, livelihoods, and so much more!