A SLOW recovery for international travel will give regional tourism more opportunities like never before.
Deputy Prime Minister and Riverina MP Michael McCormack said the hospitality and aviation sector have undoubtedly taken a massive hit by the country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, he said businesses have shown "remarkable" innovations during this time that will help regional communities such as Wagga come out the other side stronger.
This was the topic of discussion at a virtual business round-table on Friday afternoon, organised by Committee 4 Wagga, which focused on making Wagga the city of choice in its effort to accelerate the population to 100,000.
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With international flights grounded and borders closed, Mr McCormack said communities like Wagga and the boarder Riverina have the opportunity to tap into the concept of "holidaying at home" that he believes will become increasing popular.
"Certainly the international aviation sector is going to recover very slowly and that will create opportunities for regional tourism and domestic flights like never before," he said.
Mr McCormack said regional tourism will give more travellers a taste of a regional lifestyle, increasing the chances of people relocating.
"The one thing COVID-19 does show is that we can work from home. We have the technology, capability and connectivity and people will be able to decentralise," he said.
"They can own a large house with a big backyard that they never thought was possible in Sydney."
Commonwealth Bank's regional executive general manager Grant Cairns said the challenges regional communities have endured in the past months showed businesses were able to quickly pivot.
Now financial support was set-up for impacted businesses, he said the real focus will need to shift in supporting businesses out of this crisis, particularly when this assistance is no longer offered.
"When we aren't having those conversations, the risk is when the deferrals come-off and job keeper comes off we are going to have businesses in challenge," he said.
His company are beginning these conversations with its customers to gauge how they are tracking in setting up their businesses again. Mr Cairns said these talks need to be focused on the future and pushing regional businesses out to the other side.
"I'm excited about the opportunity this is going to present out of this crisis for regional Australia," he said. "More people will see regional Australia as a real option to live and work in and present exciting opportunities."