The mass media is not always kind to travel agents, sometimes treating issues superficially or painting agents as the villains – but you can watch a glowing exception, a straight-shooting, four-minute segment on ABC’s ‘The Business’ show – below.

The segment highlights the current outlook, and possibly a dark future, for many agents as international borders remain closed, without the government providing any kind of plan agents can work towards.

The accompanying story on the ABC website is headlined: Hundreds of travel agents close down amid coronavirus pandemic, others barely survive

You can read it, and watch the segment, by clicking on the above link.

Well-known industry identities featured include Penny Spencer of Sydney-based corporate travel agency Spencer Travel and Flight Centre chief executive Graham “Skroo” Turner. Linda Forster, a home-based agent who runs TravLin Travel – adds her perspective.

The segment introduces and quotes a client who explains how her travel agent helped her get back to Australia when times were desperate.

Without her agent, the client says she could have died from Covid-19: “I would have probably got into a worse state and got much sicker. She [her travel agent] was my lifesaver.”

The segment explains how hundreds of travel agents have closed their shopfronts since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and many have exited the industry.

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says travel agents are wearing the costs of airline, cruise ship and hotel refunds. She cites a recent survey of hundreds of agents, in which 98% said they had seen their revenue plunge by more than 75% since Covid restrictions were introduced in March.

“More than half have told us their revenue has plummeted by over 100%, meaning they have been paying more out in refunds, including previously made revenue, than they are selling in new business,” Carnell said.

Written by Peter Needham