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While Australian Borders Could Remain Closed Until 2021, Watch Out for These Rays of Hope!

October 14, 2020 Headline News No Comments Email Email

• Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has recently flagged that Australian international borders would remain closed throughout 2021.
• Borders could open up over time with particular attention to the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine.
• Currently, Australians are not allowed to leave the country except under exceptional circumstances. The UK, US, most of the EU and Singapore are few countries allowing Australians to enter.
• The opening of AU-NZ travel bubble, Fed’s recent contribution towards university research programs and the possibility of a vaccine launch seem to be promising rays of hope for the hard-hit travel sector.
It looks like one might not be able to freely go Down Under for over a year. But while we live in an era full of surprises, one must not lose hope!

A lot has unfolded lately for the Australian tourism industry- both good and well, not so good. While Treasurer Josh Frydenberg hinted that the country’s international borders might remain closed throughout 2021, research reports have suggested that Australians currently enjoy the second-most powerful passport in the world!

MUST WATCH: Trends Shaping the Australian Travel Industry

Australia’s Borders to Remain Closed Until Late 2021?

In a recent address to the National Press Club, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg indicated that Australia’s international borders would remain closed throughout 2021. The ban could presumably be valid on international travel, including by tourists and international students.

The update is another blow on the already ailing tourism sector, that has seen thousands of jobs being lost amid the pandemic. An indication of this nature would only keep the ones that remain, hanging on by a thread.

Besides, the update arrived around the same time when the Australian passport was ranked the world’s second most powerful, owing to the lack of travel restrictions foreign countries are placing on Australian travelers- a concurrent paradox?

RELATED READ: COVID-19 Travel Restrictions: Why NZ Passport Ranking is Still Among the Bright Spots
Budget 2020-21 Indication: Travel Sector Left in the Lurch in The Fed’s Priorities?

Australians have experienced a year like no other. International travel restrictions have excessively influenced services trade, like tourism and education.

The travel industry, like hospitality and childcare industries, seems to have been slightly ignored by the Australian Government. As the economy aims for a revival, the current focus appears to be on benefits for businesses that are doing well.

Let’s take cues on this from the Budget 2020-21- The Budget brings the Government’s overall support to $507 bn, including $257 bn in direct economic support. Emphasis was laid on boosting household incomes, bringing forward business and infrastructure investment activity, digitisation and driving the unemployment rate back down.

Highlights of Budget 2020-2021

• Additional $17.8 bn in personal income tax relief including $12.5 bn over the next obe year.
• Possible extension to the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme.
• Additional $14 bn to be invested in new and fast-tracked infrastructure projects over the next 4 years.
• Temporary tax incentive to ~ 3.5 million businesses.
• An additional $4.5 bn investment in NBN Co and funding of $29.2 million for 5G network.
• $1.5 bn earmarked towards Modern Manufacturing Strategy along with an additional $2 bn via the Research and Development Tax Incentive.

While these highlights indicate Australia’s economic recovery to be underway, one cannot help but notice that not much focus is being still given to the travel sector.

However, not all is grim, READ ON!

RAY OF HOPE #1: Where Is the Aid For Tourism Industry?

Media reports suggest that taxpayers may provide an additional ~$355 million to support the aviation sector through to FY 2023-24. The scheme could keep export and importing channels open. This could be seen as the latest move by the Government to bolster Australia’s lagging airline sector.

Budget papers also reveal that the total government support for the aviation sector currently stands at close to $3 bn. The Government is also investing $250 million in a Regional Tourism Recovery package. A further $100 million has been reportedly reserved for tourism out of the Building Better Regions scheme. Besides, over $50 million is proportioned for hard-hit tourism-centric areas.

In addition, the Government has included an additional $1 bn to support university research programs- a huge step to attract foreign students, while backing the bright domestic minds.

ALSO READ: Trends Defining Travel Sector’s Recovery

RAY OF HOPE #2: Quarantine-Free Travel from New Zealand

October started on a good note for Australia, as the country took baby steps towards reopening its international border. As per the latest updates, New Zealanders will now be allowed to visit parts of Australia, without having to undergo quarantine, from mid-October 2020.

This marks the first time that international citizens may visit the country after Australia closed its borders in March as one of the primary approaches to combat the coronavirus spread.

The reopening of the borders exclusively for New Zealand, being referred to as the one-way ‘travel bubble’, could also be seen as a development towards the “trans-Tasman bubble”, that was envisaged between the two neighbors earlier this year. Besides, New Zealand’s COVID-19 record remains strong on the health side of things. This may result in Australians being able to visit New Zealand soon if the virus allows some ease on that front!

DID YOU HEAR: Travel Bubble

Australia has mostly controlled community transmission apart from a resurgence in Victoria. The border closure has demolished international tourism and even routed a university sector that is reliant on overseas students. With some ray of hope amid stubborn restrictions, all eyes would remain on how soon Australia’s tourism industry can pick up its lost steam.
GOOD READ: Travel Industry Post COVID-19


Source: Kalkine Media

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