With the COVID-19 pandemic came the cancellation of countless holidays, visits to overseas family members and friends, destination weddings, gap-years, and everything in between.
By staying home and adhering to social distancing regulations, Australians are successfully helping to flatten the curve, new data shows, however, we can’t expect life as we knew it to return to “normal” just yet.
Returning travellers from overseas make up the majority of all confirmed cases in Australia, so it’s likely overseas travel will be the last restriction lifted as the pandemic continues.
Now, we have a more comprehensive response as to when we might expect to be able to go on overseas holidays again, and to anyone who planned to catch a flight in 2020, it could come as somewhat disappointing.
.@mjrowland68: For argument's sake, if I'd booked an overseas trip in December, would it be wise for me to reconsider that plan?
— News Breakfast (@BreakfastNews) April 12, 2020
Federal tourism minister, Simon Birmingham, appeared on ABC News Breakfast over the long weekend to discuss the future of travel for Australians. While he gave no definitive date for borders to open once more, he hinted that those with itchy feet could be waiting until 2021 to head off on a holiday again.
He encouraged Australians to daydream of domestic travel and “see Australia first” when social distancing laws lesson, but not to hold their breath for international ventures.
“It’s very difficult to predict and nobody should be getting ahead of themselves at the present,” he said.
“You should really be thinking about the type of trips you might take in Australia when restrictions on travel are lifted on travel in Australia, however many months away that may be.”
The impact of COVID-19 to the Australian tourism industry is an estimated $9 billion per month. It’s a worrying figure, especially when you consider the loss involved with the Australian bushfire season last summer.
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.