Travel agents across the Riverina are praying the introduction of vaccine passports in Australia means the return of international travel is on the horizon.
The federal government has confirmed it will be rolling out the passports, which show the owner's vaccination status during overseas travel, from October this year.
When borders re-open many nations will require travellers to be fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 to be let in and these passports, held in a phone app, will be the ticket to enter.
Gil McLachlan, the owner of Helloworld Travel Wagga Wagga, said he is "extremely" keen to see the vaccine passports be successful.
"We think it is really good news," he said. "We don't know exactly what Australia's plan for it is but we need it to be compatible with the ones being used overseas."
Mr McLachlan said there has been a surge of people looking to book international trips over the past few months as they grow optimistic that borders will re-open.
"We are holding flights for quite a few people from February but we're not taking money for them at the moment because we just can't be certain that they're getting away that early," he said.
"We've also got people holding space from April onwards and absolutely in the latter half of the year as well."
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The lack of travel opportunities over the past two years has Australians desperate to book holidays internationally and Mr McLachlan is expecting a surge of bookings when overseas travel is finally permitted again.
Louise Hurst is the owner and manager of All Travel Solutions in Hay and said she would be carefully watching how the vaccine passport goes.
"We don't really know how it will go but if it works that will be good, anything that gets the borders open will be a godsend really," Mrs Hurst said.
"It's a worldwide agreement with all the other countries that vaccination is the only way we're bringing travel back so that's what we've got to do."
Mrs Hurst said over 80 per cent of her company's business is based around international travel and the past two years has seen it "pretty much have to use all" the money it made in the two years leading up to COVID.
Travel agents across the country have been devastated by the pandemic and many have relied on government support to keep afloat.
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