A third iteration of a ‘restart timetable’ for Australia’s struggling travel and tourism sector has been released by the Tourism Restart Taskforce.
The taskforce is a group of 11 travel industry leaders – including Bob East from Tourism Australia, Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner from Flights Centre and Sarina Bratton AM from Ponant – that was established by the Australian Chamber – Tourism 10 months ago.
According to the first draft of the proposed ‘Tourism Restart Timetable 3.0’ released this week, outbound travel could start from as early as May/June, which ties in with this week’s announcement of an extension of the overseas leisure travel ban until 17 June 2021.
The Taskforce’s timeline, which is subject to agreed COVID safe operations, suggests that inbound international travel should be permitted to increase steadily from around June, and with a removal of capacity restrictions by 1 September 2021.
The on-again, off-again two-way Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand has the potential to be operational between June and August, while other ‘Safe Travel Zones’ likely to be ‘bubbles’ in the South Pacific, Singapore and other destinations, could be implemented by the start of August.
More pressing is an increase in domestic travel and the removal of all state border restrictions by 1 April. By the same date, all local Business Events should be back up and running.
“The Taskforce expressed concern about States and Territories failing to adhere to the National Framework for Reopening, with State and Territories sill closing borders to whole States, despite there only localised outbreaks,” notes from the Tourism Restart Taskforce’s January meeting state.
The Tourism Restart Timetable 3.0 suggestions that domestic expedition cruising will steadily ramp up over the coming months, and by June could be smooth sailing. All other domestic cruising should have resumed by the start of September.
This latest roadmap includes the coronavirus vaccine rollout, which it forecasts will be administered in two phases, and completed by November 2021.
The next most recent timetable for the resumption of travel and tourism was released by the Taskforce in late September 2020. At that stage, the group flagged an optimistic resumption to normal travel and tourism operations by 1 March 2021.