Open Sesame! Tourists, business travellers return today

21 Feb 2022 |

After 704 days, Australia finally welcomes all fully vaccinated international tourists, business travellers and other visa holders from today.  While there will be a considerable lag before arrivals return to their pre-pandemic levels, the long road to recovery for crippled tourism businesses starts now.

“Today, fortress Australia at last comes to an end.  This is the moment tourism business, devastated by international border closures, have been waiting 23 long months for,” ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

“Australia’s tourism industry is ready to roar back to life.

“The international reopening is a lifeline for our 300,000 tourism businesses and the 700,000-strong workforce that they employ.   Prior to the pandemic, the economic benefit realised by inbound tourism was extensive, contributing up to $45 billion in export income every year.

“Australia has had one of the longest and harshest border closures anywhere in the world, while disparate COVID-19 restrictions have differed across the country.  Australia has a huge task ahead of it to repair its international reputation.

“Serious challenges remain for tourism operators with international travel not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024,” Australian Chamber – Tourism executive chair John Hart said.

“Businesses that are primarily reliant on international tourist arrivals have been crippled by the international border closures for almost two years.  As such, targeted financial support for those businesses hit hardest will help them stay afloat until their operations can resume.

“To ensure that Australia can restore its standing as an internationally competitive destination, a number of initiatives such as refunding tourist visa fees and scrapping passenger movement charges must be considered.  This will make Australia a more cost competitive destination and drive much-needed international demand.”

“Additionally, increasing Tourism Australia’s funding up to $240 million a year will be essential to rebuilding our international image as a premier destination.

Jack Quail | Media Adviser

P  |  02 6270 8020

E  |  [email protected]

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