Sydney Opera House

It’s time to put the sunscreen away, at least for now. Australia has confirmed rumors that the current plan to reopen the beloved country for inbound travel will be virtually non existent until late into 2022, and that’s if things continue to progress well.

The news comes after a chaotic few weeks for Australia and travel in general, after the country abandoned citizens in India, before reversing course after strong international backlash. Now, outsiders must sober to the fact that it may be a very long time before any trips are in play, as yet another government official expresses an extended delay.

a large building with a bridge in the background

Australia Says Late 2022 For Travel

Dan Tehan, Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment fanned the flames of any hopes for near term travel to Australia in an interview with Sky News last week, as the minister offered a “best guess” approach for reopening travel coming in late 2022.

“The best guess would be in the middle to the second half of next year, but as we’ve seen throughout this pandemic things can change,”

Dan Tehan, Australian Minister of Tourism & Trade

Australia’s border remains closed to virtually all non residents and citizens, with the exception of global A-listers, who have flocked to the Pacific paradise to live in a world where covid-19 largely is a distant memory, and masks are too.

Now, Josh Frydenberg, a member of Parliament and Federal Treasurer of Australia has come out with similar claims, backing up the likelihood that travel won’t meaningfully return internationally at all, until mid-2022 at the very best. Speaking about the latest government proposed timeline for international movement, Frydenberg stated…

“quite a conservative, cautious assumption that international borders will gradually reopen from the middle of next year.”

Josh Frydenberg, Treasurer, Australia

Australia’s All Or Nothing Approach To Travel

The all or nothing approach to covid-19, which is shared by neighboring New Zealand, has been widely approved in the country, but slow covid-19 vaccination rollout has put the absolutist opinion to the test, with citizens effectively locked in, and outsiders out.

Australia initially promised that all adults would be vaccinated by October 2021, which lead to strong speculation, including from Qantas, that international travel would be set to resume. For now, a travel bubble with New Zealand will have to suffice.

When global travel was at a standstill, the approach was seen as entirely positive. But now that international movement is resuming, families are reconnecting and business across borders is rebooting, with countries including the USA, UK and Israel leading the charge, frustration is mounting.

airplanes at an airport

Travel Advice: Planning Australia Trips

If you’re hoping to visit Australia, plans for the second half of 2022 are now the optimistic case, for most international travelers. With so much uncertainty, the best practice would be to only make hotel reservations which have full cancellation rights up until travel, and to prioritize flight bookings with points.

Points are easier to get back when you wish to cancel than cash, and allow those missing a flat white in Melbourne, or an Aperol Spritz in Sydney to dream big, but hedge for the fact that all plans are absolutely subject to change.

Hopefully, Australia gets vaccinations moving at a greater clip, and Dan Tehan’s “best case” comments become tangible. In a perfect world, sooner would be nice too.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. As an Australian living overseas, I do have a chuckle over lockdowns for 1-2 cases and the lack of a vaccination roll out.
    No, I do not want The Australian Government to bring me home, I am very happy where I am.
    That the borders will not be open until late ’22, so be it.
    I have no wish to come back, spend 2 weeks in quarantine, even though I am fully vaccinated, Pfizer not Astra Zeneca, and face the possibility of a lock down because of one case.
    Guys, you have to learn to live with this, yes there will be cases, but you cannot close down every time. Yes it is serious, but if we don’t learn to live with this, I like many other Australians will remain happy not to call Australia home

  2. From what I’m hearing from the pharma industry, COVID is never truly going away and we’ll see the need for booster shots, not unlike the flu where each year’s flu shot is for the two or three most prevalent strains that year. Aiming for zero is not an achievable goal according to some.

    1. I think most pragmatists have always felt that way. Now that death rates and treatment are falling in line with other seasonal viruses and illnesses, the focus among most academics is not zero deaths, zero illnesses, but managed control, the way we manage and control other things. Few viruses in history just disappear entirely. It’d be great, but few expect this will just disappear because we want it to.

  3. And cruising? I have three b2b, 28 days March 29 2022….now I am afraid to buy the air ticket..

  4. I read Oz planning to open in 2024. Obviously its their country, they can do whatever they want however from European perspective it looks totally crazy.

  5. We have a AU/NZ cruise this Christmas. Guess we will be hearing from the cruise line that it has been canceled.

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