Asia Minute: Australia Travel? Maybe Next Year

Oct 12, 2020

Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program is on track to start this Thursday — opening the way to a gradually rising number of visitors. But if you were planning a trip to Australia anytime soon, you’ll have to make some adjustments.

It may be as long as another year until Australia is ready for visitors. That news came out late last week in the government’s budget presentation.

As part of his post-budget address, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said, “International travel, including by tourists and international students, is assumed to remain largely closed off until late next year and then gradually return over time.”

That drew a sharp reaction from Simon Westaway, executive director of the Australian Tourism Industry Council. He called for “more rigorous debate and engagement between industry and government.”

Government conversations are underway to open “travel bubbles” between Australia and other low-risk destinations such as New Zealand, Taiwan and possibly Singapore and Japan.

But the hospitality industry wants a broader opening.

Westaway said, “what’s absolutely paramount is a realistic and even boundary-pushing plan to get our international market moving again and with a timeline.”

Australia has been relatively successful in controlling COVID 19 in most parts of the country, but residents still need government permission before any international travel.

Any returning residents need to serve a mandatory 14-day quarantine in a hotel in isolation.