Walk down Acland Street in St Kilda and next to almost every QR check in sign, you’ll see another one advising the shop or restaurant is NOW HIRING. At our favourite Malaysian place in Hawthorn, the wait staff have to do shifts in the kitchen to make up for the short numbers and dishes have been slashed from the menu.
We’re visiting from Sydney and aren’t surprised as it’s much the same back home. It’s only to be expected, given current isolation orders, and a culling of staff during lockdowns.
But according to a Queensland travel agent, travel agencies are in much the same boat, and it will impact would-be travellers.
According to Main Beach Travel principal Mike Dwyer one in three Queensland agencies have closed their doors since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
"For a business like ours, we had a team of 32 people and we've lost almost half of our team," he told the ABC.
"We're already struggling to service existing demand which is really just the tip of the iceberg."
"I am really concerned about our industry and the lack of travel agencies and the lack of support for the industry.
"As the demand ramps up, we are going to hit a supply crunch, because there's not enough agents to help people make their plans."
Given the COVID-related hoops through which travellers still have to jump, Dwyer said more people were choosing to book through a travel agent rather than handle the bookings themselves.
“We already have people travelling and what we know is it is much more complex than it was previously," he said.
"Every country has its own set of rules and regulations.
"On top of that, the airlines have specific requirements about being tested either 24 or 48 hours before a flight."
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