SYDNEY, 19 June 2020: Countries that were counting on Australia signing bilateral agreements to set up travel corridors could be heading for a disappointment.
Australia is often identified as one of the most likely partners due to its declining Covid-19 cases to establish two-way tourism between low-risk countries, but the latest comments from Australia’s Tourism Minister suggest otherwise.
ABC News reported that earlier this week that “Australians hoping for an overseas holiday have had their hopes dashed, with the Minister of Trade Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham, saying the nation’s border is likely to stay closed until next year.”
The news channel said travel outside of Australia was still a way off although the government is discussing a trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand.
Some states, like South Australia, are beginning to ease their border restrictions, but the Minister told ABC News that the decision to shut borders was one of the main reasons for Australia’s success in suppressing Covid-19 and “it would not be lifted for general travel any time soon.”
Talking to the National Press Club, he added: “I do sadly think that in terms of open tourist-related travel in or out of Australia, that remains quite some distance off.”
Asked whether that meant the border would not open until next year, he said, “I think that is more likely the case”.
He called on Australian’s to support domestic tourism as a patriotic duty.
Australians on overseas holidays spent AUD65 billion last year.