Australia’s reopening boosts travel confidence

SINGAPORE, 8 February 2022: Australia will reopen its international borders to welcome fully vaccinated tourists on 21 February, almost two years after introducing strict lockdowns.  

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement just weeks after the country eased entry for citizens, permanent residents and their families and subsequent added international students and migrant workers, including ‘gap year’ travellers seeking a working holiday experience.

Travellers must be double vaccinated to enter Australia and the prime minister said the definition would not be changed for tourists to enter the country.

“We’ve been cautious looking at the impact, particularly when Omicron hit, and how that would flow through,” he said.

“But the fact is here in Australia, the variant is here, and for those who are coming in who are double vaccinated, they don’t present any greater risk than those who are already here in Australia.”

 IATA’s regional vice president for the Asia Pacific, Philip Goh welcomed the move saying: “Today’s announcement by the Australian government to open its borders to all vaccinated travellers from 21 February 2022 is welcomed by the airline community and a big step forward.  

“The Asia Pacific region has been very cautious in its approach to border restrictions so far, but in recent weeks, we have seen growing momentum towards relaxation of travel restrictions – in the Philippines, Thailand, and to some extent, New Zealand. 

“We urge other governments in the Asia Pacific to look at similarly further easing their border restrictions to enable aviation businesses to accelerate their much-needed recovery and to bring maximum benefits to their economies.”

Singapore’s CNA news channel said the announcement sent shares of travel and airline stocks surging, with Qantas up more than 5% and travel operator Flight Centre rising more than 7%.

The past week had seen a slowdown in daily infections and hospital cases. Australia reported just over 23,000 new cases on Monday, the lowest tally since the New Year and far away from a peak of 150,000 in late December.