State border restrictions a “handbrake on tourism restart”

Tourism Restart Taskforce releases 3.0 Timeline Guide

Australia’s on again, off again pandemic-induced domestic border restrictions throughout 2020 and early 2021 have been billed by the Australian Chamber – Tourism’s Taskforce as “inarguably the greatest handbrake on tourism restart”.

The remark is contained within Version 3.0 of the compendium for the updated Tourism Restart Timetable Guide, released after the timetable itself was previewed by Australian Chamber – Tourism’s Executive Chairman John Hart this month, revealed exclusively by LATTE two weeks ago.

The 11-page guide provides more depth and insight on the latest timetable across the restart of domestic and international tourism, hospitality and events, cruise, quarantine caps, outbound travel, safe-zone travel and vaccine certification.

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Credit: Catarina Sousa/Pexels

The Guide confirms the reopening of state borders has been the Taskforce’s “highest priority”, with the revised timetable now envisages that all border restrictions will be removed by 1 April 2021.

“The certainty of this response is absolutely vital to the planning of operations for tourism and hospitality businesses and to engender the confidence of the travelling public,” the guide says.

“This approach should involve a commitment by all Governments to act quickly and decisively and commit to a nimble, targeted and localised response rather than a one-size-fits-all response, or the closure of a State border to control a local outbreak.”

Further, the proposed timetable envisages an agreement to remove all domestic travel restrictions once high-risk populations have been vaccinated, estimated to be around July/August 2021.

The Taskforce also called for greater certainty on a timeline for the restart of international travel to and from Australia, saying the outbound travel ban “is no longer justified”.

International Tourism Restart Timetable (Version 3)

“The movement of people across our international border is critically important to trade, commerce, education, family connection and tourism. The ban on international travel has created both personal tragedy and economic hardship.”

“Anyone should be able [to] leave Australia subject to any local restrictions around access to a port,” the Taskforce argues, adding that departing travellers may need to sign acknowledgement that they may face delays and costs involved in them returning, depending on the risk status of the destinations visited.

To view the first draft of Version 3.0 of the Tourism Restart Timetable Guide, click here.

Lead image: Friday afternoon, Sydney Domestic Airport, Terminal 3 during the peak of the global pandemic

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