Australia to reopen borders to international travellers
Restrictions for vaccinated visa holders will ease from 21 February but will remain in place for travellers who are not fully vaccinated
Australia has announced that it will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated visa holders from 21 February, opening the way for the return of tourists and business travellers to the country.
The announcement, made on 7 February, was made in response to improving health conditions in recent months, including a 23 per cent decline in hospitalisations due to Covid. In a statement, the government said that ‘Australia’s health system has demonstrated its resilience throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, including though the recent Omicron wave’.
However, under the new rules visa holders who are not fully vaccinated will still be required to provide a valid travel exemption to enter Australia and will be subject to state and territory quarantine requirements.
The change follows the easing of restrictions for New Zealand and Singapore in November
Australia previously eased travel restrictions for vaccinated New Zealanders on 1 November. However, travel is still restricted for Australians seeking to enter New Zealand. The country also eased border restrictions with Singapore on 21 November. Since then, the government says that it has seen almost 580,000 arrivals visit Australia to visit loved ones, work, or study.
The government says that the announcement should ‘give certainty to our vital tourism industry, and allow them to start planning, hiring and preparing for our reopening’. Tourism is an important industry in Australia, with the sector generating more than A$60 billion in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, with over 660,000 people employed in the sector.
The federal government has also said that it is continuing to work with states and territories on ‘the safe resumption of the cruise industry’, and expects to provide further updates on this in future.