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The Australian government announced Monday it would reopen its borders to vaccinated travelers later this month.
According to Reuters.com, tourists from any country in the world who have received a full dose of an approved coronavirus vaccine will be allowed to enter Australia for the first time since March 2020, starting on February 21.
To enter, travelers must present a negative rapid antigen test or Polymerase chain reaction test taken within 24 hours of departure.
"If you're double-vaccinated, we look forward to welcoming you back to Australia," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
The travel industry welcomed the decision to reopen the borders, as international and domestic tourism losses since the start of the pandemic now total an estimated $72 billion, according to Tourism Research Australia.
International travel spending dropped from around $31 billion in the 2018-19 financial year to an estimated $920 million in 2020-21.
"Over the two years since the borders have been closed the industry has been on its knees," Australian Tourism Export Council Managing Director Peter Shelley told Reuters. "Now we can turn our collective efforts towards rebuilding an industry that is in disrepair."
While Tourism and Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond said the industry is excited for the COVID-related restrictions to be lifted, the government and travel companies "need coordination to ensure Australia was competitive as a destination."
"It's not as simple as just turning on the tap and we see numbers of international tourists back where they were pre-COVID," Osmond told Reuters.
The airline industry has already started preparing for the relaunch of international travel, as Qantas CEO Alan Joyce announced the carrier "was looking at flight schedules to determine ways to restart flights from more international locations soon."
Donald Wood is TravelPulse’s senior writer in the breaking news department, bringing nearly 15 years of experience to the desk....
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