Australians are raring to start sipping sexily-named cocktails in overseas infinity pools again. As well as some other stuff (seeing family; friends, etc. who live overseas).
Speaking of fleeing to exotic pastures, after a long year and a half with bad news breaking in waves, this week we’ve had a number of tantalising tidbits of information grace our brains.
The government’s promises about overseas travel happening by Christmas are being made with increasing certainty, with tourism minister Dan Tehan recently saying fully vaccinated Australians will be allowed to travel overseas by December “at the lastest.”
Airlines are now, then, after telling Australian authorities they really need to get their sh*t together (else risk super expensive prices) able to start planning better for 2022.
Qantas, for one, is now scheduling flights to Bali for the end of March 2022. This is a little earlier than previous reports suggested travel from Australia to Bali could return.
It was reported earlier this month that flights to riskier destinations with low levels of vaccination (think: Bali, Phuket, Bangkok, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City and Johannesburg) would take a little longer to be on the agenda (think: more like April 2022), while destinations like the UK, the US and Fiji would be on the cards from mid-December onwards.
This availability of flights on Qantas’ website, however, suggests Australians may have the option of returning to Bali a week sooner than expected. The flights look to be sitting at about $800 a pop (for a return fare).
Qantas’ website shows flights available between Sydney and Denpasar, Jakarta, Bangkok, Manila and Johannesburg from the 27th of March, and between Melbourne and Denpasar on the 28th of March.
Perth has yet to be factored in due to West Australia’s hard stance on places with low vaccination rates.
This all, it should be stressed, still depends on the government giving it an official green light (and the nation hitting the vaccination targets it is expected to, and on track to, hit).
Virgin Australia has said it will begin flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Denpasar, also on the 27th of March.
The flights for both airlines will be on regular Boeing 737s, Australian Aviation reports.
Virgin Australia is also planning on operating flights to Fiji from the 23rd of December.
Though Australians are raring to travel again, there is also a substantial degree of hesitancy driven by a desire not to be burned by the financial costs of being stuck overseas, if the global situation should change, sparking the likes of passenger caps or hotel quarantine measures to be re-introduced (or never got rid of, as the case could still potentially turn out).
If everything goes well though, much like an avalanche, we’d expect first a trickle of Australian tourists heading to Bali (in late March) and then a stream, just in time for some of the prime months to visit (during dry season where the weather is great and the waves are pumping).
Watch tourists enjoying Bali in the video below (video credit: @thelosttwo)
Speaking about the flights pencilled in to start up again in December, Tourism minister Tehan said quarantine requirements will still be in place for countries that Australia hasn’t formed a travel bubble with by then.
Tehan said the government hopes to be able to remove hotel quarantine, but testing needs to be done first.
“One of the hopes we have, especially in the lead-up to Christmas, is that we’ll be able to see states and territories putting in place home quarantine arrangements for returning Australians. We still have a little bit of work to do on that.”
“When an individual state hits that 80 per cent vax rate, it means that outbound travel will resume. People will be able to freely travel outside of Australia with no restrictions or limitations.”
“Obviously, it will depend on the requirements that have been put in place of the countries they are travelling with.”
This news comes as Indonesia’s second wave of COVID infections begins to come down, just weeks after the country saw its peak of 50,000 new cases per day. Indonesia continues to see thousands of infections per day.
The Indonesian government, however, has flagged plans to open Bali (the holiday isle 1.23million Australians visited in 2019) as soon as October, with foreigners expected to be allowed back in from November, once 70 per cent of the local population has been vaccinated.
Indonesia has also warned it will be cracking down on unruly antics by tourists, the likes of which you can see in the video below.