Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has announced on Tuesday, October 5, that the country won’t be welcoming international tourists until 2022. Students and highly skilled migrant workers will be given precedence when Australia reopens its borders in November 2021.
The country has implemented a strict travel ban since March 2020 to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus and is in a race to inoculate the majority of its population. The country could start opening up once 80% of the population 16 years and older complete their vaccines, a benchmark they hope to achieve by this month.
The pandemic has had a huge effect on Australian universities which largely rely on fees by international students. If students are not allowed to enter, they could decide to continue their studies elsewhere, a worrying prospect for the country’s education sector. After students, the next focus is to allow skilled migrant workers into the country. The news comes only a few days after it was announced that vaccinated citizens, as well as permanent residents, will be allowed to fly overseas from November 2021 onwards.
PM Morrison, however, would not commit as to when exactly tourists will be allowed in the country, but just mentioned that it will be sometime in 2022. Many in the tourism sector hope for the return of international travelers by March 2022 so they can recover from their losses.