The latest news is that international travel won’t resume as normal until 2024, but that doesn’t mean Australia won’t be able to establish safe travel bubbles between low-risk destinations in the same way it’s already done with New Zealand.
In fact, there are hopes we’d be able to open borders to a number of countries sooner rather than later, with experts predicting Singapore, Japan and Thailand as some of these destinations.
Nothing has yet changed, and New Zealand is still the only country Australians will be allowed to travel to without a mandatory hotel quarantine upon return (from April 19), but new flights announced by Virgin Australia reveal the destinations we may be able to visit next.
Virgin’s Chief Executive Officer Jayne Hrdlicka has revealed short-haul overseas flights to Bali and the Pacific Islands will be some of the first to resume, after New Zealand of course, according to News.com.au. No timelines have been set, but in a dream world, a tropical holiday would be on the cards before the end of 2021.
Following this, long-haul flights to Japan and the US will be the “principal focus”. No, you won’t be able to attend the Tokyo Olympics — overseas spectators will not be allowed — but we hope we’d be able to make it over for the skiing season at the end of 2021, should vaccine roll-outs go to plan.
As for the US, it may be hard to imagine visiting after its initial response to the coronavirus, but 22.7% of the country’s population has now been vaccinated, and a lot can change in the time it takes for Australia’s own vaccine program to roll out.
“It is time to get the borders back open,” Hrdlicka said on Today. “We have to learn how to live with COVID, and we have to get our borders open and we have to join the global economy as it restarts.”
Acknowledging the slow vaccine programme in Australia, she continued: “I am hopeful we can get caught up and that October is a reality.”