BENDIGO'S travel industry is cautiously optimistic the sector will bounce back after announced changes to interstate and international travel.
The state government on Friday confirmed fully vaccinated international travellers would no longer need to quarantine either at home or in hotels if they test negative to COVID-19 in the 72 hours before their flight and then 24 hours after arrival.
It came after the federal government confirmed international borders would reopen on November 1, just as interstate travel becomes more accessible.
Bendigo travel agent Sara Doyle, owner of Make It Travel Bendigo, said she was "relatively positive" about the changes.
"All of us are keeping our finger on the pulse because we need to be experts on this," she said.
"The past two years have felt like a rubber band going back and forth. Just when you think it's opening up again, it shuts down.
"Going forward, we're a lot smarter and more cautious. We will do the best we can for our clients and we want to give them as much flexibility as we can."'
Mrs Doyle said there had been a "massive" influx of customers making travel bookings in the past two weeks.
"It's mainly those who have trips in credit," she said. "About 75 per cent are people rebooking, while 25 per cent are locking in a deal before the availability goes next year.
"Some people have already downloaded their international travel vaccine passports, while others are more cautious. We have seen an influx of people asking questions."
Bendigo Motels Association president Kristyn Slattery said the region's accommodation providers were also optimistic but cautious about a return to travel.
Read other news: Speeding Bendigo driver was just trying to get to Kmart, court told
"The borders opening has the potential to be bitter sweet," she said. "If people flee the state, then regional Victoria will be feeling the emptiness.
"But one thing we have seen throughout the pandemic is Victorians' passion for Victoria. I know they will be keen to support small business."
Ms Slattery said there were still a range of questions about what life in the vaccinated economy would look like.
The Julie-Anna Inn owner said the accommodation sector did not fall under the current vaccination requirements because it could still be considered emergency accommodation.
But Ms Slattery said there was still confusion because spaces like motel restaurants and laundries fell under the vaccine and density protocols.
"Hopefully once there is more intrastate, interstate, and international travel, we will start to see the problems and solutions so we can have more confidence going forward," she said.
Ms Slattery reiterated that motels were a safe choice for travellers. She encouraged people to support local when booking their holidays.
"Book direct and keep the money local," she said. "Choose wisely through the business, the local visitor centre, or even independent travel agents.
"All small businesses need every penny they can get. If you book with the big third parties, then a large percentage of the money goes offshore. That will not help or aid our recovery.
"The other benefit of booking locally is that it provides the most flexibility in the event you're considered a close contact or the business becomes an exposure site.
"It's in the best interest of the operator and the traveller."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: