In Australia, the New South Wales (NSW) state government has announced the lifting of quarantine for international travellers from 1 November. This announcement has been widely welcomed throughout the travel and MICE industry, which has been affected by tight border restrictions since the start of the pandemic 19 months ago.
Peter Shelley (pictured), managing director of the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), said: “Australia’s tourism industry has borne the brunt of international border closures with many businesses suffering with no income since March 2020.”
Melissa Elf, general manager of the travel management company FCM, added: “Intrastate travel has been incredibly strong for businesses throughout the pandemic, especially in Queensland and Western Australia, but this announcement will give global business the confidence to fly into Sydney without the hindrance of any form of quarantine.”
In addition to the NSW easing of restrictions, the state government has announced a AUS$66m (US$49m) ‘Al Fresco Restart Package’ of support for outdoor dining and entertainment in the post-lockdown economic bounce back.
Richard Munro, CEO of the Accommodation Association welcomed the NSW Government’s move: “It’s fantastic to see the NSW Government thinking outside the square about what else can be done to support our sector. The NSW Government’s $66m Alfresco Restart Package is a common-sense measure which will provide additional capacity outdoors allowing our members to accommodate more patrons, more safely.”
However, Shelley has warned about the continuing restrictions in other Australian states: “While NSW tourism businesses will be ecstatic to see borders reopen, tourism businesses in other states will continue to suffer from both domestic and international travel restrictions which are stifling their income and threatening their future.”