Canberrans are itching to travel when the international border opens next week - but hesitant to book a ticket, according to travel agents.
"There's lots of interest," Wendy Jack of Hello World in Belconnen said. "We are having lots of enquiries - and some bookings."
"Australians are feeling cooped up and need to do something different. Last weekend, we saw a mass exodus to the coast as Canberrans looked for change," Tony Briton from Just Travel said.
"We are seeing requests for international travel to London, France, Fiji the USA and New Zealand but travellers are confused by the changing quarantine requirements - if I go can I get back?"
It is happening. You get a feel for the interest that is out there, but people are weighing that up against the risks which are still there.Ariel Elderfield, Civic Travel
Under the new rules, arrivals to Sydney who are double vaccinated and who test negative for COVID will not have to quarantine in a hotel.
Airlines are already selling tickets. Qantas has put on a new route from Sydney to Delhi and resumed previous routes to Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket and Fiji.
Qantas also said it was bringing back its double-decker A380 super jumbos from storage in the desert earlier than planned.
But questions remain about whose rules apply: state and territory or Commonwealth?
"The inquiries we are getting are from people who are confused and who want clarity," Ariel Elderfield of Civic Travel said.
It is not clear, for example, how international arrivals in one state with tough entry requirements would transit through to the ACT. Would they have to take a COVID test in Melbourne and wait 24 hours there for the result before being allowed to fly on to Canberra Airport?
One travel agent voiced his dismay at the way in which the federal government and states and territories were not speaking with one voice.
"Travel is fraught with complexity that we haven't had before," Ariel Elderfield of Civic Travel said.
But there's no doubt that people want to spread their wings.
"It is happening. You get a feel for the interest that is out there, but people are weighing that up against the risks which are still there," she said.
One international airline manager reckoned that the first three months of international travel would largely be divided families, say where a person was from Britain but lived in Australia but his or her family was back in the UK.
On the manager's reckoning, international travel might then be broadened over the next three months to students studying in Australia and to business travel, and finally, perhaps in six months time, to tourism.
In some cases, flights are flying anyway - just without passengers.
Between April last year and this September, Singapore Airlines operated 1130 cargo-only flights in empty passenger aircraft.
Those seats can now be filled.
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