After nearly a two-year hiatus, Australia on Monday reopened its international borders for the fully vaccinated tourists and visa holders.
“It’s a very exciting, a very exciting day, one that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Tasmania, one of country’s tourism destination.
“From the day that I first shut that border right at the start of the pandemic, which enabled us to have one of the lowest death rates from COVID anywhere in the world, one of the strongest economies to push through this pandemic, and one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, we are set up as a country now to really take advantage of the economic opportunities ahead of us, and Tasmania in particular,” Morrison said.
On Feb. 7, the prime minister had announced that the borders will be reopened to all fully vaccinated visa holders, welcoming the return of tourists, business travelers, and other visitors from February 21.
Those visa holders who are not fully vaccinated will still require a valid travel exemption to enter Australia, and will be subject to quarantine requirements.
The country’s tourism industry that generated more than $60 billion in 2018-19 was badly affected by COVID-19 restrictions and border closures.
“Many of the companies that were involved overseas in bringing tourists to Australia, the people who were working there are gone. Many of those businesses have fallen over and there’s a lot of work to do in rebuilding all of those channels, supply channels, to be bringing tourists to Australia,” said Morrison.
“Tourism Australia has kicked off their $40 million campaign to start that in all of our key markets where they can come to Australia and they will, and we’ll see it build up over time,” he said.