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Published on Monday, December 14, 2020

Travel Counsellors pulls out of Australia after more than a decade






Travel Counsellors is to exit Australia after 13 years following the near total collapse of the market in 2020.


Chief Executive Steve Byrne said the move was among a package of measures to 'support the long-term strategy and future growth ' of the company.


Travel Counsellor franchisees in Australia will become part of rival Australian agency, Express Travel Group, with the transition set to take place on February 1.


Australian agents have endured a torrid 2020 - arguably far worse than the UK - with international and domestic state borders closed for most of the year. Australians have had to seek permission from the Government to leave the country, with most applications knocked back.


In similar vein to ABTA, travel agent trade association AFTA spent months appealing for sector-specific support. It finally saw some success earlier this month with the government allocating $128 million for the travel industry.


Explaining the exit from Australia, Byrne said: "Since the start of the pandemic, Travel Counsellors has been quick to react and adapt both financially and operationally, with the company embarking on a package of measures to support our long-term strategy and future growth, which has led to this transition decision.


"We have taken great care to source the right business partner for our people in Australia, and in doing so have found Express Travel Group share our core values, which are based on showing care, providing outstanding levels of personal service to customers, and feature a strong organisational culture centred around putting people at the heart of everything they do."


Unlike Australia, Byrne said the UK business was 'showing strong signs of growth' with bookings in December rising to 60% of pre-Covid levels.


Some individual agents has even experienced a rise in sales, he said.


"More than ever, customers are seeking and appreciating trusted travel advice, guidance and care from an experienced travel expert when making their future travel plans," Byrne said.

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