a building on a body of water
Image by Patty Jansen from Pixabay

In much of the world where vaccination is proving effective, the question isn’t about whether to reopen international travel, but how quickly it can be done.

In the USA, UK, Israel, UAE and other countries which have lead the charge in vaccine drives, key metrics including hospitalizations and deaths falling off the map and many millions of jobs and livelihoods are at stake.

Australia, however, had recently indicated that the country doesn’t plan to broadly reopen international travel until sometime well into 2022. Or, did they?

In the span of a week, three press statements made by three leading figures in the Australian Government painted vastly different pictures of opening plans, and the latest points to positive hopes for international travel bubbles. So which one is it?

a large rock cliff on a beach

Australia’s Conflicting Message On Opening Travel

Let’s start with the statements, right? Over the past week, a variety of Australian politicians have been unable to dodge questions on reopening borders, and offered measured responses. First, there was Dan Tehan, Australia’s Minister of Tourism & Trade.

“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

Then Josh Frydenberg, Australia’s Federal Treasurer weighed in, adding muster to the statements of Dan Tehan, and effectively quashing any hopes of alternate viewpoints.

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

Josh Frydenberg, Treasurer, Australia

But just as hopes for visiting Australia were all but written off, amid growing consensus that slow vaccine rollout in the country would keep borders closed well into next year, in jumped Michael McCormack, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, with a dusting of hope, at least for some countries.

View From The Wing caught wind of comments made by Mr. McCormack via corporate travel news, which stated Australia is eager to open travel bubbles in partnership with countries experiencing high levels of vaccination. Speaking on the topic of ramping up vaccination efforts in the country, McCormack offered…

“(vaccines) are going to enable travel bubbles to be opened up with other countries where vaccination rates are very high”

Michael McCormack, Deputy PM and Minister for Transport, Australia

Before hopes get too high, the news naturally doesn’t specify a specific date.

Sydney Opera House

But, for countries which have high levels of vaccination, this is a clear indicator that they could be of interest for travel bubble access to Australia and reciprocal opening could be in the works, rather than just regional partners with low vaccination, but low case counts too.

This is somewhat of a change in travel policy idea in itself, given that all of Australia’s previous talk of travel bubbles centered around areas of low cases, like Singapore and other regional partners, favoring the current situation over the more sustainable hope brought on by vaccination.

With cases and vaccines, one naturally often leads to the other. This could mean highly vaccinated countries, at least for tourists with proof of full vaccination, may be able to squeeze an Australia trip in sooner than hoped.

It’s not guaranteed by any means, but just when hope seemed completely lost, there’s a sprinkling of excitement. Hopefully these Australian ministers can find each others phone numbers, and get in touch to square the various takes on reopening.

What do you think, will Australia open up to vaccinated tourists?

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. I do hope Canada is included in this. For the first couple of years I’m avoiding any place that’s not in the first world. Oz is on my target list for 2022.

  2. Tough chance – they lock down whole states/cities for just one covid case being detected, but there is always hope!

  3. This article clearly shows aussies are brainless, unethical, culturally uneducated and their blood stinks. Even rats will die with smell from their dirty blood.

  4. @Ozhater – that’s why you’re not welcome in our COVID free country. Our lives are very normal in our great Nation.

  5. The countries most likely after NZ , will be Pacific Is (namely Fiji, Samoa, Tonga etc but not PNG), Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Israel, and UAE. Even then inward tourists will need some kind of quarantine – hotel for unvaccinated.
    Outgoing tourists (possibly to anywhere in the world, not just “bubbles” ) will need to be vaccinated, and on return do home quarantine whilst awaiting test results .

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