The Australia-New Zealand travel bubble is a hopeful sign for local travel agents, but alone it's not enough to save the beleaguered industry.
International travel provides up to 95 per cent of earnings for travel agencies. Since the COVID-19 pandemic closed international borders, businesses have struggled to stay afloat on savings and JobKeeper.
The introduction of half-price domestic flights by the government earlier this year had little benefit, as many domestic travellers opted to stay with friends or family.
Now an overseas destination is back on the cards, things are looking up says Jonathan Hickman, managing director at Travel on Crown.
"We're selling packages to the snow, the coast of New Zealand and self-drive packages," he said.
"Without JobKeeper, it's not going to pay all the wages, because not everybody wants to travel to New Zealand, but it will be good."
Mr Hickman said the industry needed a number of similar travel bubbles to open up with a variety of countries with low-to-no local COVID-19 transmission.
Hadijah Talib, owner of Ourworld Travel Wollongong, agreed.
"We would love to hear of opening to other countries like Singapore, Japan, or the Pacific Islands - that would be of more benefit to us," she said.
"This is not enough to keep businesses afloat now JobKeeper has ended, especially with the sudden lock-downs, more and more people have no confidence for leisure travel.
"If things keep going like this with no help from the government most of us won't survive."
Brad Pearce, of Figtree Travel Centre, was a little more optimistic, however, he agreed it was likely many businesses would close before international travel returns to normal.
"People really want to get out and do stuff, but the New Zealand bubble will not be enough to save the industry," he said.
"It's been tough going and will be until there are more travel bubbles, but a slow progression of bubbles is a little lifeline.
"Agents like us who have been around for 30 years have a bit of a buffer to fall back on, but smaller agencies without that buffer, I can't see how they'll make it out the other side."
On Tuesday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed the removal of quarantine for Australian travellers would happen on April 19.
As most Australian states have already scrapped quarantine for Kiwis, the decision opens up the bubble, and returns the trans-Tasman allies to pre-COVID travel arrangements.
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