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.
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.
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.