Tourism minister Dan Tehan has just confirmed that another AUD 128 million (USD 128 million) will be available to assist travel industry businesses dealing with the ongoing closure of Australia’s international borders.
The funding is part of a AUD 1.2 billion (0.93 billion) package which also includes the underwriting of 800,000 half-price domestic flights to specified regional destinations, as well as government-backed loan guarantees for small and medium businesses. The loan programme is accessible for businesses turning over up to AUD 250 million which have accessed JobKeeper this quarter and enables borrowings of up to AUD 5 million with a 10-year term and a two year repayment holiday. “We are backing businesses that back themselves,” Tehan said.
At this stage it appears that discounted flights on offer under the package will only be accessible via the Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar websites.
Qantas and Virgin Australia will be also provided with monthly “retention payments” to support staff and ensure aircraft are ready for the recommencement of international travel which is anticipated to be when the COVID-19 vaccination program is complete in late October.
The package includes additional support for zoos and aquariums, the continued waiving of airport security and air services fees, while Tehan also noted an extension of the Business Events Grants programme.
Full details of how the AUD 128 million in extra travel industry funding will be deployed have not been released at this stage, with AFTA asking the government to anchor the additional support within a framework that is relevant to agency costs and promotes the retention of key expertise within the sector.
(Source: Travel Daily AU)