Travel agents urge travellers to keep adding to their "bucket lists"

The priority: Robyn Flanagan from Wauchope Travel says travellers' needs are her first priority.

The priority: Robyn Flanagan from Wauchope Travel says travellers' needs are her first priority.

Delayed or cancelled flights, cruise ships in chaos and travellers scrambling to get home.

With international governments closing borders in order to deal with the COVID-19 threat, travellers are facing some uncertain times.

Domestically, NSW will likely follow the lead of Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia in shutting its borders.

Local travel industry members admit they are facing the most "challenging of times".

But two long-serving travel agents in the Port Macquarie-Hastings believe the industry will bounce back stronger than ever.

They even argue that travellers should continue to plan for their next trip or consider places to visit for their "bucket list".

Wauchope Travel's Robyn Flanagan says Australians are resilient travellers.

"The travel industry will come back stronger than ever," she said.

"The industry has come together to work to ensure travellers get home safely.

"We are part of the Helloworld group and they are constantly checking on us and our customers.

"These are unprecedented times but we are really confident we will make it through.

"There is a very good future for travellers; there will be some good bargains."

Mrs Flanagan said Australia has a good culture for overcoming obstacles involving travel.

She said the business was doing everything it could to support people with their travel plans.

"We are a small business employing local staff and we want to keep them employed," she said.

"We are skilled and experienced professionals and we are working through this current situation.

"I think the majority of people understand that this situation is completely beyond our control.

Robyn Flanagan

"I think the majority of people understand that this situation is completely beyond our control.

"They understand that we don't have all the answers, at the moment."

Mrs Flanagan said she is continually receiving updates from various reliable sources including the Australian Travel Agents Group and the International Air Transport Association.

However, she admitted the situation had been stressful.

Camden Haven Travel's Jenny Peters described the COVID-19 threat as "a challenging period".

But her advice was simple: always book through a travel agent.

"We are definitely getting people through the door that did not book their holiday with us," she said.

"As well, we are right in the middle of this and I would suggest that airlines need to come to the party a bit more than what they are currently doing.

I don't think people should be penalised - in these circumstances - when these things are out of their control.

Jenny Peters

"As a travel agent, we have been working really hard to get people home but we have to contend with changed flight schedules while the airlines are adding charges and fees.

"I don't think people should be penalised - in these circumstances - when these things are out of their control."

Mrs Peters, who has 40 years' experience in the industry, also urged people to continue to plan their next holiday.

She said people should continue to add to their bucket list and have it ready when the COVID-19 threat was removed.

"We have lots of people with wonderful trips planned.

"We should all remain positive," she said.

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