Australia reopening borders to tourism

Australia Continues Reopening For Tourism Despite Spikes in Cases

Australia continues to gradually reopen for tourism. For now, only visitors from Singapore, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan are allowed entry, as well as international students and skilled workers, are allowed entry.

Other arrivals need to present a negative PCR test at check-in and agree to quarantine.

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Disclaimer: Travel restrictions and governmental regulations can change rapidly and the information below might be outdated within a few hours. Therefore, double-check all information with your embassy or on official websites. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel.

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Australia Reopening Borders – Latest Updates

Sydney, Australia - reopening for tourism

January 11 – Australia to go ahead with the reopening despite an explosion in COVID cases

Australia has recorded more than a half-million COVID-19 cases in the last week, which represents nearly the 50% of the total reported over the pandemic. 

In order to avoid a potential health “catastrophe,” two West Australian epidemiologists are urging for the state’s border opening to be postponed.

However, Prime Minister has been clear about the options available to Australians: “You’ve got two choices here: you can push through or you can lockdown. We are for pushing through.”

When will Australia reopen borders for tourism?

Aircraft - Qantas

Unfortunately, it does not appear that Australia will be reopening its international borders for tourism anytime in the near future, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other government officials have announced multiple times. 

Wildlife Australia

COVID situation in Australia

As of January 11, the island nation has reported 1,140,897 cases of COVID-19 and 2,416 deaths.


Australia reopening tourism: Update archives

December 20 – Australia to further relax entry restrictions for vaccinated travelers on Dec. 21

Beginning Tuesday, December 21, fully vaccinated overseas tourists visiting Sydney and Melbourne will no longer be required to quarantine for 72 hours.

There’s a catch, though. Passengers will be required to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test within 72 hours of boarding and another one within 24 hours of arrival instead, said the premiers of New South Wales and Victoria in a joint statement.

“We know it has been a challenging…with the emergence of the Omicron variant, but this announcement is about simplifying the process and making sure Australia’s two biggest cities have a consistent approach,” said NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet.

December 15 – Australia will reopen to fully vaccinated travelers from South Korea and Japan on December 15. 

Australia’s Prime Minister has confirmed that the country will reopen to fully vaccinated travelers from South Korea and Japan starting Wednesday, Dec. 15.

The reopening will also benefit international students and skilled workers.

“We will move again forward. The borders will be reopened both to Korea and to Japan and for skilled migration and for students as we conclude the pause that we announced several weeks ago.”

November 30 – Australia imposed travel ban on 9 Southern African Countries and pauses next phase of reopening

The Australian government has banned flights from 9 Southern African nations and imposed a 14-day supervised quarantine for all returning citizens and residents, said Health Minister Greg Hunt.

The restriction applies to international students and skilled migrants who have been in any of the above-mentioned countries within the past 14 days.

The banned countries so far are South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, the Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique.

The country has also temporarily paused plans to reopen for international tourists to avoid a major spread of the Omicron variant.

November 17 – South Australia further explains its border reopening requirements for Nov. 23

Once South Australia reopens its borders on Nov. 23, fully vaccinated residents will only have to quarantine if they are proven to be in close contact with a COVID-19 case.

The revised guidelines include a new category called “low-risk casual contact,” which applies when a vaccinated person has been in the presence of a COVID-positive person for less than 15 minutes.

In this case, those people are not required to quarantine or get tested. 

Unvaccinated people in the same situation will have to quarantine for 14 days instead.

Nov. 2 – Australia has reopened international tourism for 2 low-risk countries

Citizens and permanent residents of Australia can now travel abroad without government permission starting on Nov. 1.

As a result of the policy change, fully vaccinated Australians will no longer be required to quarantine upon arrival in New South Wales, Victoria, or the Australian Capital Territory.

In addition, the country will initially allow international visitors from New Zealand and Singapore.

Australia’s Prime Minister said on social media that Australia would allow travelers from Singapore from Nov. 21.

Read our full article: Australians Allowed To Freely Travel Overseas Again

October 12 – Australia reopens economy as it learns how to live with COVID, tourism won’t reopen before 2022

On Monday, Sydney reopened cafes, bars, restaurants, and gyms after nearly 100 days of lockdown due to a local spike in cases.

Authorities have said they will no longer pursue the virus-free strategy and instead they will need to learn how to live with COVID.

New South Wales (NSW) state Premier, told reporters that infections are expected to rise now and that Western Australia and Queensland will be observing the developments in Sydney to avoid potential errors that could lead them to a hospital capacity emergency. 

Australian Prime Minister mentioned at the last press conference that skilled immigrants and international students will be a priority for reopening. Tourism most likely won’t reopen before 2022.

Source: euronews.com

September 30 – Australia reviews its reopening pilot program – New South Wales and Victoria the first to open up

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the reopening of international borders before Christmas for all states that have reached an 80% vaccination rate. 

According to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the country is currently reviewing the pilot program, and the first two states to benefit from the reopening will be New South Wales and Victoria. 

“We are going through the pilot as we speak… The reality is we can’t live in a bubble forever and that goes for every state but it also goes for us as a nation,” she told Sky News on Tuesday night.

Berejiklian also warned Australia has to reintegrate into the world regardless of the health experts’ advice. 

September 7 – Australia might resume international travel on December 18

Australia has extended its “biosecurity emergency period” through December 17. This means that international travel will remain banned at least until that date.

However, Qantas airlines has scheduled flights to Singapore, London, Los Angeles, and Vancouver on 18 December and more for the following week. 

Although Qantas’ CEO has done this before, this time he seems to have support from the government. 

“They [the Australian Government] agree with our broad assumptions, and agree that our plan is reasonable.”

Source: Executive Travel News

August 25 – Australia’s panel supports reopening plans regardless of COVID figures

The Melbourne-based Doherty Institute suggested a change on the current zero-cases strategy, to limiting the number of hospitalizations and deaths. This way, Australia could reopen when 80% of its population is fully vaccinated.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s 30 cases or 800 cases, the conclusions are the same, and that’s what the Doherty Institute said… we can do this safely and we do need to do it,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday.

As of today, only 30% of Australia’s adult population has been fully vaccinated. 

Source: Reuters

September 20 – Australia to trial home quarantine system for international travelers

The Australian government will trial a “home quarantine system” for visitors arriving in Sydney, announced Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week.

“This is the next step in our plan to safely reopen, and to stay safely open,” Morrison went on to say that the trial could set a standard for how to “live with COVID-19.”

The caseload continues to soar across the country but the government is sticking to plans to start a gradual re-opening. 

Australian and Canadian airlines have already scheduled flights for December. 

Source: Reuters

July 29 – Australia-New Zealand travel bubble paused at least until October, 2021

The Trans-Tasman travel agreement between Australia and New Zealand has been shut down for 8 weeks due to a spike in coronavirus cases in Sydney.

 “There are now multiple outbreaks, and in differing stages of containment, that have forced three states into lockdown. The health risk to New Zealanders from these cases is increasing,” told reporters Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern.

Sydney reported 239 new cases in the last hours making it the worst outbreak seen in months. The state’s premier, Gladys Berejiklian, announced the enforcement of stricter measures in eight areas “of concern.” 

Source: The Guardian

August 12 – Australia’s expats to seek permission to travel abroad from August 12

Australia heavily tightened its COVID curbs from today, following a spike in coronavirus cases in Sydney and Canberra.

Effective August 12, all people who “ordinarily reside in another country”, meaning, if they “spent more time outside Australia than inside in the last 12 to 24 months” will need to demonstrate they have compelling reasons to leave the country. 

Australia is seeing a worrisome epidemiology situation to its standards. Also today, the government called extra military forces to ensure compliance with lockdown measures after its capital Canberra reported its first locally transmitted case with no links to other patients. 

“We are making sure that we do not leave any stone unturned in relation to extra (military) resources,” New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said at a media conference in Sydney.

Source: ITV News

July 10 – Australia to reopen international borders with a new four-phase plan

Different industries have welcomed the four-phase plan released by the government following the National Cabinet meeting on July 2 aimed at reopening international borders.

In phase 1 (vaccine pilot), Australia will continue to minimize community transmission. 

In phase 2 (post-vaccination), students and business visitors will be allowed in.

In phase 3 (consolidation), there would be no lockdowns and no limits on returning vaccinated travelers.

In phase 4 (final), life will return to “almost” normal but unvaccinated travelers will still need to do pre- and post-flight testing.

The date where these phases are supposed to happen has not been released yet. However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison expects that the limited number of returning travelers (phase 3), should be in place at least until the beginning of 2022. 

(Source: Australian Government)

June 23 – Australia planning to bring back international students with a new “traffic light” entry system

Australia could trial a pilot program that would bring back international students from a limited number of countries over the months to come.

The new “green light, red light” system would allow vaccinated people “who pose no health risk” to come back to the country after almost a year and a half of closure. (Source: India Today)

The proposal came after Prime Minister Morrison told The Weekend Australian the government will spend the next six months monitoring the spread of new highly-contagious variants, and the effectiveness of vaccines before reopening their international borders. 

(Source: Australian Aviation).

June 8 – Australia might reopen a travel bubble with the U.K., and the U.S. according to Qantas CEO

Trade and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan has officially announced the federal governments of Australia and New Zealand are working on expanding the existing quarantine-free travel bubble to include at least 5 island countries in the Pacific.

For its part, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said last week that the reasonable next step would be to put the U.S. and U.K. next on the travel bubble agenda. 

Minister Tehan immediately backed him up by telling reporters that “Alan has definitely got the right idea”. “We want to build on the success of our travel bubble with New Zealand. Six weeks now, we have had a two-way travel bubble and it is working very well,” 

However “[We] have got to remember at the moment there are over 3,000 active cases in the U.K. and the U.S. each day, so still a long way to go there for them in dealing with the virus and obviously, once they can get on top of that, we can start looking at these things,” said Tehan.

(Source: 7News)

May 11 – Australia is considering a three-principle roadmap to reopen

As stated by Health Minister Greg Hunt, Australia is considering reopening the country when 3 principles are met. 

Thus, the country will reopen when/if,

  • First, the travel bubbles work well as the one stabilized with New Zealand. Then the “capacity can be expanded to the Pacific, possibly Singapore or possibly to other countries.”
  • Second, there is a massive vaccination program.
  • Third, after assessing the progressive capacity, “based on medical advice for those that have been vaccinated to have easier passage out and easier passage in.”

According to early looks at the 2021 federal budget, “the assumption is that international borders would reopen in 2022”, said an Australian spokesperson.