Travel agency Holiday and Cruise Centre helps you dream now for travelling later

Since she began working in the travel industry, Nicole King has navigated a pilot strike, the September 11 attacks, the Bali bombings and numerous natural disasters.

Travel agency Holiday and Cruise Centre owner Nicole King hopes more travellers will book their holidays with Ballarat travel operators.

But nothing has hit home more than the COVID-19 pandemic, shutting borders and entire countries to tourists, and leaving cruise ships idle in ports.

Thanks to an understanding landlord, Nicole was able to break her lease and relocate her Holiday and Cruise Centre business from its Sturt Street site to her North Ballarat home to help reduce overheads.

After months of assisting clients to return home and chasing refunds and travel insurance claims, Nicole’s thoughts turned to recovery and how to keep her clients’ travel aspirations alive. This resulted in her online campaign, Dream now – travel later.

“Travel is such an emotional experience, and I was seeing so much disappointment from clients who had worked and saved hard but had to cancel their dreams of an overseas holiday,” she says.

With international borders closed, Nicole’s goal was to create a shift in mindset, encouraging people to explore regional Victoria and Australia.

“I do hope that people will be more thoughtful when booking travel by supporting our great network of travel operators in Ballarat as opposed to booking via online companies – just thinking about where their money is going and who it is supporting.”

Despite the crushing blow to the cruise industry, she says there are positive signs of a return with many cruise companies releasing schedules.

In September, a group of her regular cruisers were excited to lock in a 35-night Hawaiian cruise in 2022.

“It was a real morale booster with virtual high fives all round,” Nicole says. “Being through world events, you know things will get back on track, we just don’t know when.”

Holiday and Cruise Centre