High prices and state-imposed rules are just a few of the obstacles preventing Australians from making the most of the reopening of international borders.
Many Australians are excited about the international border reopening next month, but the logistics of travel within and outside the country can prove to be complex and frustrating.
Australia’s remoteness, stopover destinations, the cost of flights and quarantine, and the residency requirements of international travel will be a barrier for many.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last Friday that the international border would reopen at some point in November. The exact date of reopening will depend on states’ internal vaccination rates.
“Now is the time to bring Australians back to life,” said Mr Morrison.
But many Australians are confused, wondering if overseas travel will even be a realistic option for them once the border reopens.
These are the four main obstacles that prevent you from traveling abroad.
Flying in and out of the country and then quarantined for seven days on return is likely to be prohibitively expensive for many.
While the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says it will keep a close eye on airline price increases, the price of airline tickets is still likely to be significantly higher than what Australians are at. were used to before the pandemic.
Discount offers, free upgrades and cheap last-minute tickets are unlikely to be available, as demand for a plane ticket exceeds supply in the first months of reopening.
The seven-day home quarantine requirement upon return to Australia will also be a financial blow to many.
If your job doesn’t allow you to work from home, you’ll need to take another seven-day leave on top of your vacation just to comply with quarantine rules.
People living far from an airport, especially those in regional and remote areas, can also expect the price of home quarantine to skyrocket.
Public transport from the airport to your home is unlikely to be allowed, which means returning travelers will likely have to rely on rental cars, airport parking, or household members to make them happen. exit the airport and quarantine them at home.
Remoteness from Australia: stopover problems
Australia’s remoteness means stopovers and indirect flight routes are an inevitable part of international transit for Australian travelers.
But in the post-pandemic world, the logistics of trying to get to a place like Europe or the UK will be even more difficult.
Not only will travelers need to be aware of public health restrictions at home and in their destination country, they will also need to consider the risks and restrictions of transit countries.
While many international flights from Australia previously relied on stopovers in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, many of these countries have low vaccination rates and continue to struggle with significant outbreaks of the variant. Delta.
People from all over the world will also pass through these travel hubs, making them high-risk environments for the transmission of Covid-19.
State by State System
The prime minister announced that international borders will reopen next month for states that achieve 80% full immunization coverage.
NSW is the only state so far that is expected to hit the 80% target by the start of November.
For residents of the Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australia, international travel will not be an option until December 2021 or even January 2022 if their current vaccination rate continues.
And for residents of Western Australia and Tasmania, the wait is likely to be even longer.
Western Australian Prime Minister Mark McGowan has said he will keep his state borders closed until next year – even if they reach the 80% vaccine target by then.
“With NSW having very high infection levels… the point of view is that if the people in NSW want to fly overseas and come back, they really don’t add to the risk. We’re not going to do it at this point, ”said McGowan.
Tasmanian Prime Minister Peter Gutwein has also said he will not follow the 80% target, insisting his state will not reopen until 90% of its residents are fully immunized.
Residence and vaccination rules
According to Morrison, only Australian citizens and fully vaccinated permanent residents will be able to participate in the international home travel quarantine program.
Unvaccinated, single-dose Australians will face the costly bill of a 14-day hotel quarantine on their return if they wish to travel overseas.
People under the age of 12 or people medically exempt from the vaccine will be the only exceptions to the jab rule.
But for Australia’s temporary residents – many of whom are desperate to reunite with loved ones abroad – no exemptions have been announced.
Changes to international travel only apply to Australian citizens and permanent residents. This means that if a person with a visa decides to leave the country, they will not be allowed to return.