After two of the hardest years the industry has ever faced, Tamworth travel agents can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The market has shifted, with prospective tourists steering away from multinational online travel companies and back to local businesses thanks to global uncertainty, Tamworth travel agent Chris Watson said.
He said the last 12 or 18 months have "probably been the hardest time ever for the travel industry".
But things are looking up.
Mr Watson said demand has picked up recently in a good sign of things to come - but nobody is going anywhere just yet.
"We're not breaking any records, we're certainly not breaking-even yet," he said.
"In the last three weeks, we've seen a lot more consumer confidence. We've actually had our busiest three weeks of bookings in 19 months, and while they're nothing compared to what we used to get it's nice to see that bit of consumer confidence."
Many Tamworth residents with the travel bug have saved nearly two years of holiday budgets and Mr Watson hopes they spend locally.
"The first shift we've noticed is people want to buy locally, they want to support local businesses, they want to support businesses that give back to their region," he said.
"We're seeing people that are walking into our office and saying I used to book direct with this cruise company but I want to be able to sit here with you and know what the rules are, what's going on."
Even popular destination choices have changed.
Rather than Bali and Vietnam, locals are far more interested in highly-vaccinated western Europe, Mr Watson said.
"They're looking for bucket list experiences. They're spending bigger than what they used to because it's unknown what the future holds. I think there's a lot of built up want and desire for people to get out there and explore again," he said.
Travel Diversity's Barry Gorringe, a travel agent of 40 years, said the only event with impact comparable to the coronavirus pandemic was the September 11 attacks in 2001.
That lasted one month, rather than 18.
Mr Gorringe said his clientele were older than Mr Watson's, and had proven more conservative. But business is very slowly trending towards ordinary.
There were times over the last year Mr Watson thought the industry would never recover from the pandemic.
He's now sure things will "bounce back".
"I don't think it will be a 15-year-growth to get back to where we were, I think it will be a couple of years and we'll see the industries getting back to where they were," he said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: