Starting February 21st, 2022 Australia is all set to reopen international borders to double-vaccinated visa holders! This is news that the nation’s tourism and aviation sectors have been eagerly awaiting, as they have been struggling to keep themselves afloat in the two years since the pandemic began.
As COVID-19 cases and ICU admissions continue to decline, Prime Minister Scott Morrison made this welcome announcement that will help the industry recover from the return of international travelers.
“This is the exciting announcement the aviation sector has been waiting for,” Australian Airports Association (AAA) Chief Executive James Goodwin said, adding, “International travel is only at 15 percent of pre-COVID levels so this is a positive step to help the recovery of the aviation and tourism sectors.”
This announcement was also welcomed by Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, who said that this means that Australia is finally back open for business. Qantas is looking to see if more schedules can be restarted from more international destinations sooner, or if they can add capacity to routes that are already flying.
The Prime Minister said the government had been proactively working to progressively re-open Australia’s borders since November 2021, but were keeping the safety of all Australian citizens and travelers at the top of their mind.
Mr Morrison said that all their programs, such as the arrangements that were in place with New Zealand or Singapore, and then with Japan and South Korea, had been very successful. International visitors will now be able to come back to the country, provided that they are able to show proof that they have been double vaccinated against COVID-19.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews further stated that anyone who is not vaccinated will have to apply for an exemption and provide proof that there is a medical reason that they cannot be vaccinated. She feels that the tourism sector is long overdue for a strong resurgence in activities as it has been almost two years after Australia closed its international borders.