As Omicron gradually appears to fade, international tourist destinations are reopening by the bucketload. But what about Oz? Well, Australia’s borders have been mostly closed for both inbound and outbound travel since March 2020. Finally, though, the country has reopened to visitors, meaning holidays – and family reunions – are possible again.
And for the vaccinated, travel to Australia has just got much, much easier. Double-jabbed visitors will no longer need to take a pre-travel PCR test. Previously, all vaccinated travellers are required to take a test 72 hours before departure, so it’s a big change. Now, all you need to show is proof of vaccination.
Unvaccinated travellers, meanwhile, will still only be able to visit Australia in certain circumstances. They’ll also have to quarantine in a designated hotel at their own expense. You can read all the rules here.
Currently, fully-jabbed means two vaccine doses, but as booster jabs are rolled out worldwide, the premier of the state of Victoria has warned that ‘fully vaccinated’ might soon mean three. Visitors with only two doses could face the prospect of being able to travel into Victoria, but not access restaurants, bars or shops. Keep your eye out for more developments.
Experts are hoping that this will revive country’s struggling tourism industry, which has relied almost entirely on domestic visitors over the past two years. Cruises are finally returning to Australia’s ports, after two years of tourist boats being banned from the country’s waters. For much of 2021, the only international holidaymakers legally allowed into Australia were those from nations with which the country established quarantine-free ‘travel bubbles’ – namely New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
Omicron delayed the opening of Down Under to international visitors, but the country has slowly been making significant steps to increase numbers of foreign visitors. In December, Australians living abroad were finally able to be reunited with their families, and in January the country announced it would welcome back fully-vaccinated international students and skilled workers by offering to pay for their visas. Now, all international visitors can visit.
Some travel behemoths like Qantas have restarted major routes to the country again, meaning you can actually book that trip. Given Australia’s cautious handling of the pandemic, however, we’d recommend that you keep an eye out for any last-minute restriction changes.
Did you see the USA will now let in travellers from the UK and Europe?