Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia on Monday announced that the country will throw its borders open to fully vaccinated tourists from February 21.
The reopening of Australian borders for international tourists will end after a hiatus of almost two years due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, one of the world’s longest-running pandemic travel restrictions.
“It’s almost two years since we took the decision to close the borders to Australia,” Morrison told reporters. “Australia will reopen our borders to all remaining visa holders on the 21st of February of this year.”
“The condition is you must be double vaccinated to come to Australia. That’s the rule. Everyone is expected to abide by it,” he added.
The states, however, will continue to be able to set their own quarantine rules.
Australia will be looking to boost its tourism industry with end of border restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign tourists. The hospitality sector Down Under has been hard-hit due to Covid-induced border restrictions and lockdowns, which was extended repeatedly in view of the emergence of new variants of concern.
The tourism industry in Australia has been hart-hit, which, generated over $84.9 billion in annual revenue prior to the pandemic, according to Tourism Australia. The annual revenue of the tourism sector plunged by 41% in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Australia and New Zealand had to suspend the trans-Tasman travel bubble after the emergence of the highly contagious Delta variant. The variant prompted the authorities to cancel major events in Australia.
The border restrictions continued to be in effect while the Omicron variant rapidly spread across the world. As hospitalizations and intensive care admissions continue to decline in most parts of the country, the authorities are gradually easing the restrictions.