Now’s as good a time as ever to visit Australia!
After two years of international lockdown, Australia follows hot on New Zealand’s heels as the country re-opens fully to international travellers.
If you have exceptionally good hearing, you may have heard what sounded like a very distant sigh of relief a couple of nights ago. That was the noise of an entire country collectively experiencing the same sense of relief as Australia’s borders finally re-open to the world. More than 50 flights were scheduled to touch down before midnight on the first night of freedom for over two years, which may not seem like much compared to the 300 daily flights the country experienced before the pandemic – but it’s still a lot more than zero. Australian citizens initially might have taken the announcement with a grain of salt, given the examples of promised re-openings that never came to fruition in the past. This time, however, the government is serious about letting the country re-join the international community. The timing seems to be a bit more than a coincidence too – with an election on the horizon, Prime Minister Scott Morrison probably wants to be remembered as the leader who freed his nation, and not the one that locked it down in the first place. Scott stated over the weekend that “The wait is over. There’s more than 1.2 million people around the world who are ‘visa-d up’, and they can come. And in the next 24 hours, some 56 flights are going to touch down in Australia, and that number is only going to grow.”
Travellers still face restrictions, however. The country’s Department for Home Affairs made it clear that travel would only be available to fully vaccinated travellers, with PCR tests still needed for new arrivals. Unless you’re one of those anti-vaxxers, however, a double-jabbed fully vaccinated status is pretty much universal for most people at this stage of the pandemic. There is still some confusion with individual Australian states having slight variations on these requirements, but the general message is that Australia is open for business. Families, holidaymakers, businessmen and even those just wanting a holiday will be flying in droves to access Covid’s final frontier, and you can bet Australian airliners like Qantas are thanking their lucky stars that the massive 2-year earnings dip is finally coming to an end. The Australian airline industry still has a long way to go before it reaches pre-pandemic levels, but recovery has begun in earnest. The $43.5 billion tourism industry Australia enjoyed in 2019 can finally start to claw its way back up to that pre-pandemic number too, helped in no small part by that recovering aviation industry with airlines like Qantas predicting to fly 14,000 passengers this week alone. It’s a sign of the times that ‘fortress Australia’ has finally re-opened its borders, hailing what we all hope to be the beginning of the end of this pandemic.