Dubbo residents may be able to pack their bags for New Zealand by Christmas if a bid to open up trans-Tasman travel for the first time since COVID-19 goes ahead.
Australia's borders are now entering the seventh month of closure since the pandemic took hold in March, decimating industries relying on tourism, and also separating families.
But with case numbers falling the two countries' governments are renewing talks about a "travel bubble" and Parkes MP Mark Coulton says "by Christmas is pretty realistic" if the infection rate remains the same.
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Aaron Powyer, team leader of Dubbo travel agency We Know Travel, said if it came to fruition, it would "definitely spark interest".
He said while they had not fielded inquiries specifically about New Zealand, people were "still asking about overseas travel in general".
"If it does [start], people will definitely jump at the opportunity, because we know Australians don't like to have their wings clipped," he said.
Mr Powyer says the best reason to visit New Zealand is the "beauty of the country".
"It's just like nothing you'll ever see, and the locals are just so friendly, the hospitality over there is absolutely incredible," he said.
"And it's so close."
Aviation and tourism have been some of the industries hardest hit by the global pandemic.
Mr Powyer said if the travel bubble eventuated, it would have a positive impact.
"It's still not enough, but it's a great start," he said.
While international borders have been closed, customers have continued to search for destinations.
"For 2021 we are seeing quite a large number of domestic bookings coming in because while people do want to travel, there are quite a number of people who still aren't comfortable to travel outside of Australia's borders yet," Mr Powyer said.
"So domestic is on the rise, which is a good thing for our country.
"So much to see in Australia."
Mr Powyer welcomed the interest in domestic travel and the community supporting the local business as the industry faced unprecedented challenges in 2020.
"It's been good, it's actually helped us out and is contributing to keep the doors open," he said.
"A lot of people don't realise you can book domestic through a travel agent but we have all of that, hotels, and tours and cruises and trains."
Mr Coulton is supportive of the trans-Tasman travel bubble, and "sooner rather than later".
"New Zealand and most parts of Australia have managed the virus very effectively and if we can get travel going to New Zealand and vice versa, I think that's incredibly important," he said.
There's a lot of not only tourism, but a lot of business goes across the Tasman, and a lot of people come over from New Zealand to work.Parkes MP Mark Coulton
"There's a lot of not only tourism, but a lot of business goes across the Tasman, and a lot of people come over from New Zealand to work."
He said the time frame was "obviously" if there was not another outbreak.
"We've got to be flexible because things change quickly, but at this stage, if the infection rate remains the same, I think by Christmas is pretty realistic."
A poll on Facebook revealed some Daily Liberal readers were ready for a Kiwi adventure, while others preferred domestic travel, and some were not comfortable to travel yet.