Cruise lovers are celebrating a return to the high seas with this week’s announcement by the Federal Government of the removal of a ban on cruise ships operating out of Australian ports from April 17.
The good news for holidaymakers comes as RAA Travel recorded its best month of international booking numbers in two years in February.
Monthly international bookings have surged eight fold in the past six months – up 805% in February this year compared to September 2021.
“Since the borders opened enquiries and bookings for overseas holidays have surged,’’ RAA Travel General Manager Gina Norman said.
“We’ve now had a few months living with the Omicron variant and confidence in travelling has definitely increased, and it’s wonderful to see people excited about heading overseas again.
“We are now seeing people booking travel for holidays rather than reunions with family and friends.
“Short haul holidays destinations in Asia and the South Pacific – especially Fiji – are particularly popular. But longer distance destinations like the UK, Europe and North America are also in demand.
“For SA to prosper from incoming tourists we need to see those same flights going out full as well, to encourage airlines to provide more direct flights and destinations.’’
Friends Amanda Ford and Sharon Rose booked an overseas trip with RAA Travel last month and head off next month.
“I’ve been chomping at the bit to get away and I can’t wait to start the holiday – the last time I was overseas was Bali around four years ago,’’ Ms Ford of Morphett Vale said.
“I’m doing a driving holiday in Scotland with Sharon and then catching up with another friend and visiting Spain and France.
“It’s been a process of careful planning but now it’s happening my family and friends are excited as we are at the prospect of international travel opening up.’’
Ms Rose said she shared the excitement.
“It’s been five years since I was last overseas and I’m very excited to be seeing my family in England again and then taking a driving holiday in Scotland with Amanda,’’ Ms Rose, a Plympton resident originally from Halifax in Yorkshire, said.
“I’ve booked this trip three times, but had it cancelled due to Covid, so to finally be able to go now the borders are open again is fantastic.’’
For more information on cruises or to book, visit https://travel.raa.com.au/cruise/