Australia Seeks to Open International Borders by Christmas

Australia Seeks to Open International Borders by Christmas This Year

If Australia achieves its target vaccination rate, the country may welcome international tourists before the year ends.

Travellers eyeing a return to Australia now have a reason to revisit their plans, thanks to the announcement that the country’s international borders could reopen as early as December. 

After experiencing one of the world’s strictest border measures since the pandemic began, Australia is on target to lift travel restrictions and open its borders “by Christmas at the latest,” said Tourism Minister Dan Tehan in a virtual address to the National Press Club on Wednesday, 22 Sep 2021. 

Australia plans to ease lockdown measures and open borders

Australia to Open Borders by Christmas

Image credit: Heidi Fin

Under a four-phase national plan to emerge from the pandemic and return to normalcy, Australians will be able to travel overseas once the country achieves an 80% vaccination rate for the eligible adult population, according to CNN. 

Although a specific timeline has not been released, the fourth and final phase of the Australian government’s plan includes seeing international borders open up and resuming international travel with safe countries, with the eventual goal of allowing fully vaccinated tourists to visit Australia without undergoing quarantine. 

Upon reaching this final stage, Australia hopes to minimise infections without resorting to lockdowns, and Australians will have to live with the virus and treat it just like any other infectious disease. 

Australia will trial vaccine passports with select countries

Image credit: Dan Freeman

To prepare for the country’s gradual reopening, the Australian government will begin a trial of vaccine passports with a number of countries, including SingaporeJapan, South Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Pacific Islands. The vaccine passport will take the form of a QR code that will verify the vaccination status of inbound and outbound travellers. 

Fully vaccinated foreign travellers will be permitted to enter Australia, provided that they have received shots approved for use by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which includes Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.

Also read: New Zealand Aiming to Reopen and Start Quarantine-Free Travels Next Year

Australia’s borders have been closed to non-citizens and international tourists since Mar 2020. 

As of 22 Sep 2021, 38% of Australia’s adult population has been fully vaccinated. The country aims to hit its target of reaching an 80% vaccination rate for the adult population by late November of this year. 

Featured image credit: Brett Stone | Pexels 

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Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany wrote articles on travel, food, and pop culture for TripZilla. As she plans her next adventure, she enjoys writing about the coolest places to stay around the world and where to find them.