The trans-Tasman bubble is set to open next week and keen holidaymakers have wasted no time in visiting travel agents across the shire to assist with bookings, itineraries and recommendations for a trip to New Zealand.
As of Monday, April 19 Australians will no longer have to quarantine upon arrival in New Zealand, a move that signaled a significant step in both countries' COVID-19 responses and recoveries.
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Travel Team Batemans Bay owner Bronwyn Moore had a busy few days since the announcement, with shire residents eager to organise their first trips overseas since international borders closed.
"One of our clients is quite unwell and visiting New Zealand has been on their bucket list, so they're organising to head there soon," Ms Moore said.
"There's a huge mixture of reasons people are keen to go overseas, whether it's to be reunited with family and friends or just for a holiday and a change of pace."
For South Coast Tourism Industry Association executive officer Karen Dempster, the newly opened trans-Tasman bubble would mean she could visit her hometown for the first time in 15 months.
"My dad turned 80 last year but I missed it and my mum is about to turn 80 as well so I've already booked a trip back next month and we'll have a celebration," she said.
"The day they announced we could fly home it was almost like someone had lifted a cloud off me, because for the first time in a long time I'll be able to get there when I need to."
Ms Dempster said people shouldn't forget the travel announcement would also encourage Kiwis to come to Australia and it presented a perfect opportunity to promote the South Coast.
"Mum sent me an article the other day that was in the NZ Herald all about the South Coast but it actually only talked about places as far south as Jervis Bay," she said.
"I'm going to see if I can have a coffee with the journalist while I'm there and talk to her about all the other places further down the coast people should visit.
"I've also organised to visit Auckland and meet with wholesalers and invite them to do a presentation here, because it's all about getting people to experience it for themselves and report back to Kiwis."
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But last week's announcement also came with a warning from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who said it would be a case of 'flyer beware' and people should plan for possible travel disruptions if there was a COVID-19 outbreak in either country.
Ms Moore said as the world began to open up again, travel agents would need to take on the additional role as travel advisors and give their clients up-to-date information about COVID-19 rules and restrictions in different places.
"Some people just want to go now and understand that if there is another shut down, airlines will have credit arrangements on offer, but refunds aren't necessarily going to be automatic," she said.
"Others will sit back for a little while and see how the bubble unfolds and how it works before they make that commitment to travel themselves."
A popular place that emerged so far among shire residents using Travel Team Batemans Bay services was a skiing holiday in Queenstown.
"The combination of the good exchange rate for the New Zealand dollar and also the beautiful snow is tempting for many," Ms Moore said.
"It's really about how much time you have, but cruises have also been very popular because people get to see many different ports and can decide to go back to places they particularly like."
As for Kiwis visiting Australia, the South Coast could provide nature-based experiences that aren't available in places like the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney.
"New Zealand is doubly cold in winter so for Kiwis who visit Narooma during our winter, it's pretty much summer for them!," Ms Dempster said.