Travel bug bites as COVID jabs near
Travel bookings are booming as borders open and the COVID-19 vaccine is set to be administered from this month.
Flexibility by airlines, hotels and wholesalers in allowing change of dates and destinations in the event of a border closure is adding to confidence, RAA Travel general manager Gina Norman says.
While bookings for rail travel have soared, the opening of borders to Brisbane and Sydney saw spikes in air travel reservations - even cruise bookings are back as cruise converts look to the future.
RAA Travel's air bookings are up 42 per cent in the past three months compared to the first quarter of the financial year, while rail bookings are up 32 per cent this financial year compared to the previous year.
Cruise bookings for January were up 20 per cent on any month since March when the pandemic saw interest in cruising collapse.
While part of Western Australia has gone into lockdown and SA, along with other states, has now shut its border to WA, Ms Norman said each time a border opened there was an influx of inquiries from travellers keen to plan their getaways.
"We are absolutely seeing confidence to travel return as Australia does so well dealing with the pandemic, as borders re-open and with the vaccine almost here," she said.
"The flexibility of operators has been a big part of it - people can defer bookings if there is a border problem or switch to a different destination.
"Interestingly we are seeing strong growth in cruise inquiries - dedicated cruisers will still cruise, and many book a year in advance so there is confidence the industry will be back operating."
Ms Norman noted the cruise industry has worked hard to bring in "exceptional health conditions" as it will be relying on public confidence.
Meanwhile SA's travel booster scheme, the SA Tourism Commission's Great State discount vouchers had about 30,000 bookings made by early last night as the midnight deadline to redeem vouchers approached.
Some 75,000 vouchers were snapped up in 40 minutes leaving many who missed out upset - and now annoyed that those who received vouchers have not used them.
SATC chief Rodney Harrex said: "With around 53,000 room nights created through the first and second round of our Great State Voucher program, it has achieved what it set out to do - getting people booking up the CBD and regions, and spending on the restaurants, cafes, bars and experiences around them."
Originally published as Travel bug bites as COVID jabs near