Travel agent hopes for brighter days ahead

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Travel agent hopes for brighter days ahead

It’s been a tough year for Blackwood travel agent Lyndall Young who kept the doors open to support customers despite her business “going backwards’’ since the onset of COVID-19.

Lyndall said 2020 had been the most challenging of her 27 years in business at Travelaffare in Blackwood’s main street.

She stayed open with reduced staffing and opening hours, unlike many of her larger competitors who closed early on in the pandemic.

“It’s been really important that we are still here for all those people who made bookings,” she said. “Since March we’ve been processing refunds and delivering on the terms and conditions set by airlines and hotels. We’ve had to bear the brunt of people’s frustrations, which has been hard, but we’ve had some amazing support from people too.”

Lyndall said as well as bookings grinding to a halt, her company was working “in reverse”, returning money earnt last year.

“We’re trying to minimise losses for our clients and do everything we can for them during this extremely difficult time.”

In recent months Lyndall has started taking bookings from locals to Northern Territory, Queensland and Norfolk Island. She has kept her focus on looking ahead to a brighter future.

“Now might not be a great time to travel, but it’s a great time to start planning,” she said. “The world is going to open up again and we’ll return to those places; in the meantime, let’s start thinking about opportunities for the days ahead.”

Along with the Federal Government’s Jobkeeper payments, Lyndall welcomed City of Mitcham support which saw her receive a full rate waiver for April-June 2020 and a 10 percent rate decrease for the 20/21 year.

City of Mitcham Mayor Dr Heather Holmes-Ross said: “Many of our small businesses are struggling right now. We’re really happy to be able to provide rate relief to help them out. Our recent decision to build the Blackwood Community Hub will certainly help bring people to the heart of Blackwood. We’re hoping this project will provide a real boost for business like Travelaffare.”

Caption: Travelaffare owner Lyndall Young with City of Mitcham Mayor Dr Heather Holmes Ross at her Blackwood business.