While UK residents are slowly beginning to travel again – albeit using a limited traffic light system – some countries remain closed to tourists completely, and Australia is one of them. The popular holiday and backpacker destination, which is also home to hundreds of thousands of British citizens, closed its borders at the beginning of the Covid pandemic in 2020 and has yet to reopen them. So when will travel to and from Australia be allowed once more? Here’s what we know.
Can I travel to Australia?
Australia is not open for worldwide tourism, and only essential travel is allowed. This means that returning permanent residents and their immediate family members and essential workers are technically allowed into – and out of – the country, but in practice even this is proving difficult. More than 34,000 Australians are currently stranded abroad, unable to book a rare flight home or space in hotel quarantine, which was brought in on 28 March 2020 as part of the country’s zero-Covid policy.
With just over seven per cent of the Australian population fully vaccinated, it’s expected to be some time before UK travellers are allowed into the country.
When will Australia reopen to visitors?
This is the golden question, and one that no one has a definite answer to just yet – although many have predicted that the borders won’t open before 2022. The destination’s finance minister Simon Birmingham told local media in May 2021 that Australians ‘won’t be seeing borders flung open at the start of next year… given uncertainties that exist not just in the speed of the vaccine rollout, but also the extent of its effectiveness to different variants of Covid, the duration of its longevity and effectiveness’.
However, that’s not to say that tourism is banned for visitors arriving from all countries. On Monday 19 April 2021, a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand began. ‘The bubble marks a significant step in both countries’ reconnection with the world and it’s one we should all take a moment to be very proud of,’ said New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern in a news release from Australian prime minister Scott Morrison’s office.
Isn’t Australia on the green list?
Yes, the destination is on the green list – which technically means that the UK has classified the country as safe to travel to. But, since the borders are shut to British visitors, that classification doesn’t mean an awful lot. If, however, someone was able to travel to the UK from Australia, they would not need to quarantine.
For now, though, we can dream about heading down under and staying in one of our favourite new hotels.
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