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(Australian Associated Press)
Travel agents struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to apply for additional funding to help their businesses survive.
The federal government has announced it will provide an extra $130 million to travel agents, on top of $128 million already being shared out under the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program.
Round two of the program, made up of the new funds, will open later this month for eligible travel agents, inbound tour operators and tour wholesalers.
The government is finalising payments to travel agents under round one of the program, which tourism minister Dan Tehan says has supported about 3000 operators.
The financial support has been used in part to refund or give travel credits to Australians whose plans have been impacted by domestic and international border closures.
Travel agents who received a round one payment will be entitled to a second payment ranging between $7,500 and $100,000.
To be eligible, the business must have had a turnover of between $50,000 and $20 million in the 2019 calendar year and have received the JobKeeper extension.
“Before COVID-19, domestic tourism made up approximately 77 per cent – or $107 billion – of tourism spend and we want to see that level of spending return,” Mr Tehan said on Saturday.
He urged travellers to book their holidays through their local travel agent to support them.
The Australian Federation of Travel Agents, Australian Tourism Export Council and Council of Australian Tour Operators have worked closely with government on the design of the second round of funding, Mr Tehan said.
For more information, visit the Austrade website.