COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program
On 11 March 2021, the Australian Government announced Round Two of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program. This will provide further assistance of $130 million to travel agents and tour arrangement service providers who continue to provide refunds and hold credits for Australian consumers unable to travel internationally. Further details on Round Two are below, with full guidelines and key dates available shortly.
On 1 December 2020, the Australian Government announceda $128 million scheme to assist travel agents and inbound tour operators and tour wholesalers (tour arrangement service providers, consistent with ANZSIC code 7220) who have been severely impacted by COVID-19. The scheme provides eligible travel agents and tour arrangement service providers with a one-off payment to assist with their legal obligations to continue to hold credits and seek refunds for Australian consumers who were unable to travel due to COVID-19. The program closed on 13 March 2021.
On 11 March 2021, the Australian Government announced a second round of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program. An additional $130 million has been provided under Round Two to help give eligible travel agents breathing space to facilitate customer refunds, and follow up travel credits.
Several adjustments will be made to this second round to take into account industry feedback. Round Two is expected to open in late April 2021.
Changes under Round Two of the Program
The Government will continue to consult with industry to finalise the conditions of Round Two. However key changes include:
- Simplifying the assessment and payment process for businesses eligible for a second payment under the program.
- Increasing the payment amounts, from $7,500 up to a maximum of $100,000 (maximum payment amount is unchanged).
- Reducing the number of turnover tiers used to calculate payments, from 41 in Round One to nine in Round Two.
Eligibility under Round Two
The objective of Round Two of the Program is to provide travel agents and inbound tour operators and tour wholesalers (tour arrangement service providers, consistent with ANZSIC code 7220) who qualified for Round One of the Program, a second grant payment. This payment will assist these businesses to continue to meet their legal obligations to credit and refund Australian consumers unable to travel due to COVID-19. Eligibility requirements include:
- The business has been operating a business as either a travel agent or inbound tour operator, and tour wholesaler (tour arrangement service provider, consistent with ANZSIC code 7220), prior to the announcement of the closure of international borders by the Prime Minister on 19 March 2020, and is continuing to operate that business; and
- Had a turnover of between $50,000 and $20 million (which can equate to a Total Transaction Value (TTV) of between $500,000 and $200 million) for the 2019 calendar year; and
- Was in receipt of the extension of the JobKeeper payment from 28 September 2020 to 28 March 2021.
- Have qualified and received a payment under Round One of the Program;
- Sign a declaration that your business is solvent as at the opening date of Round Two of the program, that you intend to continue to operate your business throughout the June quarter 2021, and make best endeavours to retain your staff; and
- Commit to continue to trade and to meet your businesses obligations including to process refunds and travel credits to Australian consumers and to continue to provide services to your customers.
Additional verification points under Round 2 include:
- Applicants whose appeals are upheld under Round One of the program (including those with TTV greater than $20m but turnover less than $20 million) will be eligible for Round Two. The turnover used to determine the Round One payment will be the basis of any Round Two payment.
- Eligible applicants who recorded and were assessed on a turnover of $500,000 or more under Round One will be subject to an additional assessment by Austrade. Those found to have received a payment based on TTV in Round One that was greater than they would otherwise have received if the payments for Round One and Two were calculated on turnover, will not be eligible for a Round Two payment.
Consideration is also being given to the circumstances of mid-sized agents who operate multiple outlets under a single ABN.
Please refer to the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program Guidelines in the section below for Round One (available now) and Round Two (available shortly) for the full eligibility criteria.
Round one: This Round has now closed. Applications opened 14 December 2020 and closed midnight AEDT, 13 March 2021.
Round Two: The opening date for Round Two has not yet been announced, but is expected to open in late April 2021 and close in June 2021.
Have a question or issue relating to the application system for Round One? Please contact Services Australia by phone on 1800 560 774.
Have a query regarding the eligibility criteria or the program guidelines for both Rounds One and Two? Please email the Austrade Tourism Recovery team with any urgent queries that cannot wait until further guidance on Round 2 is issued, at email@example.com.
Need to report a scam/phishing attack? Please contact the Services Australia Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk by phone on 1800 941 126 or email firstname.lastname@example.org