Just when we thought 2021 was going to be our year of travel…
Let’s be honest, after the year we’ve been having, a holiday is exactly what we all need right now. However, if the travel restrictions weren’t bad enough as more and more countries are added to the UK’s quarantine list, Australia ain’t letting anybody in until late next year. So don’t book your trip there just yet…
Though tourist-dependent destinations are desperate to entice travellers back – just look at Sicily, which offered to pay for half your flight costs in order to get you to visit – things are likely to take a while before you can jump off on a flight heading to Oz. And it doesn’t help that we are all feeling rather anxious about not travelling.
Earlier today, the Australian government confirmed that the country is unlikely to open its borders for international travel until the end of 2021. Don’t take offence, as it’s not a personal attack on you from the government, as the rule applies both ways: Australians will be largely unable to travel overseas, while tourists will be unable to enter Australia.
Josh Frydenberg, the Treasurer of Australia, confirmed the decision and said their reasoning behind the closed borders was that they are waiting until a vaccine is available after handing down the Federal Budget, according to News.com.
He said: “International travel, including by tourists and international students, is assumed to remain largely closed off until late next year and then gradually return over time, and a vaccine to be available around the end of 2021 is one of the assumptions in the budget.” He also added: “We know that the road out of this crisis will be unpredictable. We also know that this Budget outlines possible alternative upside and downside scenarios. We are taking nothing for granted.”
However, the country’s domestic borders are expected to open earlier to allow travel within Australia. Restrictions are expected to be lifted by December this year but Western Australia, which includes Perth, will not be reopening its border until April 2021. Australia has managed to keep coronavirus rates relatively low, with 27,182 confirmed cases to date and just 897 deaths. In comparison, the UK has had more than half a million cases and over 42,000 deaths to date.
This news comes after the Australian flag carrier Qantas sold out a scenic “flight to nowhere” in under 10 minutes. Travel-starved Australians were keen to book onto the seven-hour sightseeing tour, which takes off from and lands at Sydney without touching down anywhere en route, paying between $575 (£445) and $2,765 (£2,145) for tickets. Woah!
Sadly our dreams of seeing koalas and kangaroos are little more distant than they were before…but we’ll keep on refreshing the Skyscanner website just in case.