Australia’s international travel ban extended

The trans-Tasman travel bubble is the only hope for overseas travel before 2021.

couple waiting to leave an empty airport

Australians won’t be able to travel overseas for another three months, as the federal government quietly extended our international travel ban from 17 June to 17 September.

The ban on international departures was to initially run from 18 March to 17 June, but on 15 May, was extended without fanfare for a further three months.

However, exemptions will be made for the trans-Tasman bubble – talks of which are currently underway.

While New Zealand and some Pacific Islands are the hot tip for a travel bubble in the near future, last month, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also proposed the creation of a ‘safe corridor’ allowing travel between countries which have successfully contained their coronavirus outbreaks.

According to Greek City News, participants in a video call of countries keen to revive tourism included the Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz, Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Andrej Babis, and our very own PM, Scott Morrison.

Last weekend, Mr Mitsotakis said Greece will be ready to welcome tourists this summer.

“When the summer tourist season comes full circle,” said Mr Mitsotakis, “we will be able to say that we did not just manage the first wave of the pandemic in an exemplary way, but that we also set the bar very high on how we can reopen tourism safely – above all else.”

empty international departures area at perth airport

Australia’s travel ban extension would not prevent the proposed trans-Tasman bubble from going ahead with New Zealand and other nations that have control of their coronavirus cases, a Department of Health spokesman told The Australian.

“The human biosecurity emergency is currently in force until September 17, 2020 – it was extended on May 15, 2020 for a further three months to ensure the Australian government continues to have an appropriate range of powers available to manage the ongoing pandemic response,” said the spokesperson.

“The outgoing travel restriction on Australian citizens and permanent residents is currently in effect for the duration of the emergency period.

“Amending these restrictions – for example, to enable travel to NZ – is a decision for both governments that will be made in due course, when the public health risk is assessed as being sufficiently safe. The Australian and New Zealand governments continue to work together on this matter.”

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham confirmed the ban when he spoke at Canberra’s National Press Club this week.

“I do, sadly, think that in terms of open tourist-related travel in or out of Australia, that remains quite some distance off,” he said.

When asked if this ban would likely extend to 2021, Mr Birmingham said, “I think that is more likely the case.”

The federal government is pushing for Australians to explore their own backyards, redirecting the $65 billion they spent on overseas travel last year towards domestic destinations.

“For those Australians who can afford to do so, we want them to feel an almost patriotic duty to get out and support the jobs and small businesses of their fellow citizens by having whatever Aussie holiday they can,” said Mr Birmingham.

“That could mean instead of the beaches of Bali, it could be the beaches of Byron Bay.

“I hope Australians use this time to travel across our magical continent and become better-informed ambassadors of all that we have to offer.”

State border closures have so far prevented interstate travel, but as of Wednesday, South Australia reopened its borders to people from Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania, while Queensland is expected to reopen to interstate visitors from 10 July.

Victoria and New South Wales residents may have to stick to their own states for a while, until coronavirus cases are brought back under control.

Here’s where you can travel if you hit the road this weekend.

Where do you want to travel first? Do you think you’ll go overseas again once international travel bans are lifted?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    20th Jun 2020
    I think that if the tourists industry wants Australians to holiday in Australia then maybe they could put there prices down and stop being so greedy. at the moment it is cheaper to travel overseas.....much more Value for our $’s
    20th Jun 2020
    Travel overseas?
    You mean Bali? Fiji? Vanuatu?
    Where people working in Resorts, bars etc get paid a couple of dollars a day? It’s cheap because these are basically 3rd world economies that make a holiday for 1st world economies like Australia very cheap. I imagine you are very pro increased pensions, Newstart and welfare but God forbid the tourist industry and its workers earn a quid! There are plenty of cheap options for travel in Australia ie Caravan and camping holidays. Pensioners have free train country vouchers. In life you do what you can afford, not at the expense of someone else’s livelihood. I suspect that the lure of cheap alcohol and food is what you mean by cheap in these 3rd world economies. Australians need an income to pay for our living standards.Tourism is seasonal at times and incomes need to be earned when they can.
    20th Jun 2020
    NFL - I would agree with you but places like Vanuatu, Fiji etc are so dependent on Australia that they need our tourist dollars or they would just demand hundreds of millions in foreign aid from us like New Guinea.
    These destinations are not really all that cheap for me as I like red and white wine not only cheap beer. Wine and western food is more than twice the price of Australia. Of course if you are young, have no health concern and do not mind chicken and rice plus cheap beer go for it.
    Have found that hotel prices at the moment are rather reasonable around Australia, only problem is I cannot get to them with the closed borders.
    20th Jun 2020
    NFL....sounds like you're against the poor of the 3rd World making a quid to survive. Without tourism they're buggered. I don't see people lining up for 100s of yards for food handouts here !!
    20th Jun 2020
    NFL, the problem is that you are comparing one country with another and that is neither right nor fair. Whilst on paper it may be true dollar for dollar, people in popular overseas travel destinations are paid less, you have to put it in the local context. And by those standards, hospitality and tourism workers are very well paid. I have met many young tour guides in places such as Jordan, India, Cuba, who have been able to not just buy their own home but build their home and support their extended family as well. They are paid what is considered a good salary to start with, but they also get tops on top. Those tips generally add up to far more than their regular wage each week. And one more thing, the most coveted jobs in those countries are civil service, armed forces and tourism! All of which are considered very well paid by local standards. Denying tourism has a greater negative effect on those same poeple than it does here mainly because of the family responsibilities and lack of any form of welfare.
    21st Jun 2020
    We wondered if during this difficult time they might show some leniency to locals to get them out there enjoying what visitors normally do. Perhaps subsidised by some of these grants flying around.
    Example, we live in an area where people go on whale watching tours, or trips to offshore islands, but they still seem pricey to us. We did wonder if, while people weren't allowed to come here and enjoy them, we might get a good deal for locals. Nup.
    21st Jun 2020
    Live in a similar area Bundy, not much for locals either tourist wise but our pubs and clubs are open again with reasonable drinks and food and the pokies are running again to make those cheaper drinks and food possible. Hang in there it will come.
    20th Jun 2020
    I won't be travelling anywhere. Can't afford to do it, so won't do it. That's the price I have to pay living on the full DSP.
    20th Jun 2020
    Trust me I doubt it very much whether the economic circumstance of 3rd world countries is on the mind of people that seek ‘cheap holidays’. They are doing it because it suits them, not the residents of the place they’re visiting. If you’re concerned about their welfare do what I do and sponser a child with World Vision or similar. Don’t give me the excuse that you do it to boost another Nations economy.
    22nd Jun 2020
    NFL....I have sponsored children through PLAN for over 20 years. My experience of the majority of those that have travelled extensively through 3rd world countries and witnessed their poverty are well aware of “there but for the grace of god go I “ and act accordingly. If tourism to these places dried up, the domino effect would be devastating. Australia is awash with safety nets to help our disadvantaged, 3rd world countries aren’t.
    21st Jun 2020
    Sorry but I will not be travelling extensively within Australia and spend my saved dollars here. I am a single traveller and I travel twice a year overseas, primarily to spend time with good friends who generally cannot afford to come to Ausatralia or to do things that I cannot do in Australia. I have already been to much of Australia with only the Kimberleys and the Top End of the Northern Territory untouched.

    I find Australia expensive for two reasons: labour costs are high and productivity relatively low; and, more importantly, the stress on having luxury accommodation and facilities that I do not want or would use. The costs of holidaying in Australia are enough to discourage me from going to places where I don't have friends.
    21st Jun 2020
    Apart from a Trans Tasman bubble to NZ I just cannot see overseas travel being allowed this year, maybe in 2021. South Africa, Brazil, the USA as well as lots of other countries still have active corona cases and a multitude of deaths. Also what about Travel Insurance, companies currently will not extend cover for Corona Virus.
    21st Jun 2020
    You mention insurance, I just wonder whether we oldies will still be able to get it in future. Most probable cut off could be 70. Well, we have a big country and maybe that will have to do me; have been to a lot of places around the world so I am happy.
    21st Jun 2020
    MARINER ....My sister is over 70 and she still gets Travel Insurance, the cost just goes up . It is just that right now Travel Insurance will not cover you for pandemics, never have. And Covid 19 is classified as a pandemic. Imagine getting sick in the US, without insurance it costs $3,000 just to get a test to see if you have it.
    21st Jun 2020
    With modern jet travel being able to fly most of the world then a travel bubble should be able to be arranged between those countries with a good record on the covid19 !!

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