Taskforce revises timetable for tourism restart

The Tourism Restart Taskforce (TRT) has pushed out its proposed date for the recommencement of the earliest international travel by around four months from its original vision of July 2020 to November.

According to the revised Tourism Restart Timetable, dubbed “2.0”, the resumption of outbound travel (most likely to New Zealand under the ‘Tasman Bubble’ scheme) could possibly begin around mid-October and extend to other overseas “Safe Travel Zones” by 1 December. The same date has been flagged for ocean cruising to New Zealand and the Pacific islands.

The taskforce timetable 2.0, unveiled by John Hart, Executive Chairman of Australian Chamber – Tourism, also proposes to have all Australian domestic cruising back in action by 1 February  2021 and the lifting of all quarantine capacity restrictions by March. Domestic expedition cruising is flagged to be phased in around mid-November.

The resumption of all Business Events was proposed for 1 January.

All dates are subject to agreed COVID safe operations. View the full timetable below.

The updated timetable was released following the latest meeting of the Taskforce on Friday (25 September, 2020). This new proposal “reflects what industry feels are realistic restart targets” based on suggestions from government and health authorities taking into account current COVID conditions.

“The timetable focusses on restriction easing in Victoria, followed by state border reopening and international travel restart, both inbound and outbound,” the minutes from TRT’s latest meeting state.

For international travel, the taskforce has presented a staged plan for reopening, centred on three key elements: the international passenger arrival caps (from 1 December), outbound travel to safe zones (from mid-January 2021) and a vision for the restart of other overseas travel (from 1 March 2021). Crucial to this will be the support of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, “which will help progress this proposal”.

The Tourism Restart Taskforce's revised "Restart Timetable 2.0"

“International travel restart was dependant on the preparedness of airlines and airports, and a better understanding was needed about those activities. In particular, testing mechanisms and control of passenger flow to keep separated quarantine passengers from the hoped for travellers arriving who will not require quarantine, such as from New Zealand,” the Taskforce said.

Meanwhile, the group expressed its angst at the reoccurring message that “tourism is going to be okay”, with the taskforce concerned that while some regions of the country are doing well with intrastate tourists, the same can’t be said for the entire industry.

“While a small proportion may be busy, this is by far not indicative of the entire industry,” the Taskforce said.

The TRT welcomed recent announcements relating to the reopening of borders, including between South Australia and New South Wales.

To view the original Taskforce Restart Timetable, click here.

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