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Australia Bounds One Step Closer To ‘Normal’ International Travel

"For double vaccinated people around the world, Sydney, New South Wales is open for business."

As NSW, Australia’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to ease (the state recorded 399 new cases today), NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced a variety of changes that will come into effect on Monday, when we hit 80% double vaccinated. 

A bunch of measures will ease, and on top of that quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated international travellers in the state will be removed after November the 1st.

 

Though there remains a way to go before we see international travel return to 2019 levels, this is a positive first step for the industry. In recent months, prominent figures like Qantas CEO Alan Joyce (and many others) have said removing hotel quarantine would be a game-changer in encouraging people to travel again. 

So even though it only applies to NSW for now, it’s a big first step in enabling travel to and from the country, for all states, to start returning to normal again. 

Mr Perrottet said NSW’s high vaccination rates had been key in enabling the state government to get rid of hotel quarantine and home quarantine programs for fully vaccinated travellers.

The SBS reports that travellers will have to provide a negative PCR test before they board their flights, “and a testing regime will be in place on arrival.

Also according to the SBS, hotel quarantine “will still be required for unvaccinated travellers, with arrivals capped at 210 people a week.”

“For double vaccinated people around the world, Sydney, New South Wales is open for business,” Premier Dominic Perrottet said of the change. 

“I think people in New South Wales will be flying to Bali before Broome … we need to rejoin the world.

“We’ve got to open up, and this decision today is a big one, but it is the right one to get NSW connected globally.”

The Premier also said there would be “no delineation between Australian citizens and other citizens of countries around the world,” saying that “The focal point here is a delineation between vaccination status – [between] vaccinated and unvaccinated.”

Political reporter Simon Love raised the question of what this might mean for Victoria on Twitter, writing: “Certainly raises questions over the future/role of the Victorian Hub at Mickleham, too.”

Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres told media: “It is a huge pickup for our economy, and it is a really clear signal to Australians who have had to operate overseas in a constrained aviation market that we are removing those barriers and allowing you to come home.”

The SBS also reports that: “The state government suggested tourists and foreign nationals would also be allowed to enter the state, with the federal government taking responsibility for checking vaccination status as part of the visa application process.”

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