Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that the country will throw its borders open to fully vaccinated tourists from February 21.
The reopening of Australia’s borders for international tourists comes after a break of nearly two years owing to fears of the coronavirus disease spreading further during the Covid-19 pandemic, one of the longest-running pandemic travel restrictions anywhere in the world.
“It’s been almost two years since we took the decision to close the borders to Australia,” Morrison told the media. “Australia will reopen our borders to all remaining visa holders on February 21 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,” Morrison added.
The various states of Australia, however, will continue to be allowed to set their own quarantine rules.
Like many other countries, Australia’s tourism and hospitality sectors have been hit hard owing to Covid-induced border restrictions and lockdowns, which was extended repeatedly in view of the emergence of new variants of the virus.
The Australian tourism industry, which generated over 85 billion dollars in annual revenue prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Tourism Australia, registered a steep drop of 41 per cent in the first year of the pandemic.
Australia and New Zealand also had to suspend the trans-Tasman travel bubble after the emergence of the highly contagious Delta variant last year. The variant prompted authorities to cancel other major events in Australia, too. The border restrictions continued to be in effect while the Omicron variant rapidly spread across the world.