It has been one year since Australia’s international border closed, so we’re taking a moment to look back on everything we’ve been through and forward to what will be.
As if we needed to remind you, one year ago, on 19 March 2020, the Australian government announced it would be closing its borders to all non-citizens and non-residents from 9 pm on 20 March 2020.
Then, on 25 March 2020, an international travel ban was put in place for all Australians travelling overseas. The Smartraveller advice read “Do not travel overseas at this time.”
And what a year it has been since. “A roller coaster ride” is putting it politely. In fact, the Guardian’s word of 2020 was “shit”, which let’s face it we can all relate to.
However, we have all come a heck of a long way since then. Yes, there have been countless bumps in the road, and I’m certainly not taking anything away from how heartbreaking this year has been for so many, but we have all learned how resilient we all are, and the future really is looking brighter.
We are heading in the right direction.
Where are we now?
After the extremely confusing and ever-changing ‘close the borders’ farce. domestic borders are back open; fully and completely, and it looks like they’re going to stay that way.
With domestic borders open, airlines are adding extra routes and capacity, which is also great news.
The global-wide vaccine rollout, should – within Australia – lower the risk of cluster breakouts, especially within hotel quarantine workers, and in theory, should allow international travel to resume including those keenly awaited bubbles.
The Australia Government is banking on all those opting for a vaccine to have been inoculated by October, raising the question ‘will international borders reopen then?’
Alan Joyce is certainly remaining optimistic for international travel, with his February announcement stating that Qantas and Jetstar are planning to restart regular international passenger flights to most destinations from 31 October 2021.
There has also been mounting pressure around the Trans-Tasman bubble agreement. Earlier this week, New Zealand’s opposition called for the immediate creation of the trans-Tasman bubble in a move that could pressure Jacinda Ardern into opening borders.
It looks like Australia could have two-way quarantine-free travel to New Zealand as early as April. That’s next month.
Aussies could also be heading to Singapore in July after recent advancements saw Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announce Australia is now working with Singapore to open up an international travel bubble as the vaccine rolls out.
The digital health passport is gaining momentum too, with many airlines from all over the world trialing the new process in a step to reconnect the globe safely, as soon as possible.
To mark the one-year anniversary of Australia’s international border closures, and the day that the global travel industry changed forever, Flight Centre has taken a full-page ad in The Australian today.
In an open letter to all Australians, Flight Centre founder Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner, reflects on the challenges each and every Australian has faced over the past 12-months.
It is intended as a message of hope, with the future of travel looking brighter once again.
Skroo wrote “there are so many of these heartwarming stories which have provided a much needed silver lining through the toughest of times. It’s moving and encouraging to see the way people have gone above and beyond, and we are lucky to have so many of those people here to help get our community through this period.”
“I’m proud to say we’re looking forward to being there for many years to come because the future of travel is looking bright.”
Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner, Flight Centre Founder
Today, we should all look back with pride and look forward with hope. #TogetherinTravel
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