Most countries are looking for ways to speedily open their borders and welcome back tourists this summer, but Australia is saying, “Nah, we’re good.” According to Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, Australia is unlikely to reopen to international travelers until 2021.
The country enforced a strict and early lockdown earlier this year, and successfully limited the outbreak of the virus. Understandably, they’re not too eager to reverse their progress.
Birmingham told the National Press Club, “I do sadly think that in terms of open tourist-related travel in or out of Australia, that remains quite some distance off. Just because of the practicalities of the volumes that are involved and the need for us to first and foremost keep putting health first.”
When asked if the border wouldn’t open until next year, he replied, “I think that is more likely the case.”
An exception may be made, however, for students and other long-term visitors. Birmingham said that for international students and visitors who plan to remain in the country for an extended period, “We can simply work through the 14-day quarantine periods that have worked so well in terms of returning Australians to this country safely.”
The return of international students is viewed as a major priority, as international students bring in $26 billion a year to the country.