Travel Will Not Return to Normal Until 2024, Officials Confirm


Sobering news from travel officials today has confirmed that overseas travel, as we knew it, will likely not resume as normal until 2024. Yes, four years from now.

While it’s helpful to have a more realistic timeline around when we could likely hit the skies for holidays once more, the news does come as a disappointment to many. From the sounds of it, it looks like no Europe trips, no backpacking adventures, no destination weddings. Of course, we’re remaining optimistic and hoping this is just an absolute worst case scenario. It’s not to say travel will be completely off the table, moreso that the return of travel to what it once was will be slower than expected.

The prediction, which is actually an update on a previous forecast, comes from the world’s leading travel body, The International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Previously, and just a few months ago back in May, Alexandre de Juniac, chief executive of the International Air Transport Association, predicted overseas travel wouldn’t resume to a normal level more reflective of a pre-COVID world until 2023.

He delivered the official word on ABC News Breakfast May 14, saying: “We have published today a new forecast about the potential recovery of the air traffic, and what we see is that things should come back to normal in 2023, which is later than our previous forecast.”

De Juniac says the rumoured plan to restart the domestic travel industry first is part of the plan, followed by the opening of “regional continental markets, such as Asia-Pacific, or Europe, or North America”.

While restricted interstate travel has resumed, and many are already taking advantage of intra-state weekenders, the idea of the highly anticipated Trans-Tasman “bubble” — that could see Australians being able to visit New Zealand first and vice-versa — could still be a little ways off.

Scott Morrison said in a press conference: “It is still some time away, but it is important to flag it because it is part of the road back. At some point, both Australia and New Zealand will start connecting with the rest of the world again, and the most obvious place for that start is between Australia and New Zealand.”

Experts are predicting the Trans-Tasman bubble to take effect as early as September. And although it’s out of our hands for now, one thing we can do as we wait for more concrete steps, is plan.

Start now with our round-up of five stunning Australian road trips, read up on the tips to avoid crowds on your first post-iso escape, or see virtual travel experiences around Australia.

The current health crisis is evolving rapidly. If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

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