While many countries around the world continue grappling with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, others are hopeful there’s an end in sight. In fact, many have a plan in place to begin lifting travel restrictions and welcome visitors back across their borders by summer or early fall.
Australia, which remains a bucket-list destination for many, has set its sights on resuming travel as early as July 1. However, this date only affects travelers within the country.
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According to 7news.com.au, members of the Tourism Recovery Taskforce, who meet once a week to discuss plans to reopen the country’s tourism industry, have agreed upon a timetable that would allow domestic travel to resume as early as July, and hopefully international travel as soon as September, at their recent May 22 meeting.
On May 27, the task force submitted a plan to the ACT government and industry groups for a ‘test flight’ between Canberra and Wellington, New Zealand on July 1, carrying not everyday travelers but instead government officials, media and business representatives.
“We are saying that New Zealand travel will commence on July 1 and from September 10 we will consider whether other bubbles can commence,” John Hart, the Chair of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Tourism said.
In the end, a proposed timetable is just that, and the final decision will lie in the hands of the Australian and New Zealand governments, both of which are closely monitoring the current crisis and have acknowledged that the timetable could likely shift and change as the weeks pass.
Hart also commented on how COVID-19 is currently affecting both cities, saying: “These two cities have had a very low incidence of COVID and several days and weeks with no cases, they are sister cities, capital cities and both hubs of business.”
Additionally, none of the passengers on the test flight will be required to enter a 14-day quarantine period and all will be allowed to immediately return home.
As for international departures and arrivals, September seems to be the set goal if all goes to plan, although restrictions will be lifted on a country to country basis, determined by which destinations the Department of Health deems safe.
The timetable also includes a mention of when all international travel will resume.
While Australia is hopeful to fully reignite their tourism sector mid-December, TravelPulse did reach out to Phillipa Harrison, Tourism Australia Managing Director, who said, “Whilst the Australian Prime Minister has now set out a three-step roadmap for easing restrictions and re-opening a COVID-safe Australia, this will be an evolving process and we don’t have details at this stage about when key decisions relating to international travel will be made.”
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