Will Travelers ever TRUST Australia Again?

So hey all. I write this one in the merry month of August, the last winter month in Australia and well, as I write (possibly not as this is published though) Australia has its three biggest states in lockdown. Australia has had its border almost completely closed now since March last year, and for quite a bit of that time even travel between different states has been impossible. Melbourne itself has spent over 200 days in lockdown in that time period too, which is a little under half the time. The upshot of that is that even regional travel has not been possible for a lot of the time.

The travel industry worldwide has been, no doubt, one of the if not the most affected industries by the pandemic. And here in Australia we have not seen any international tourism now for the best part of eighteen months save a few months when a travel bubble operated between Australia and New Zealand.

Australia and New Zealand are pretty much as far as I can see two countries that have maintained the harshest restrictions for the longest times. Also, we are two countries that have had, compared to the rest of the OECD countries, the slowest vaccine rollouts. And that’s because of two main factors – at least in Australia – firstly the lack of Covid cases in the first twelve and a bit months of the pandemic, and secondly dreadful management by the government. Without the numbers that say the USA or the UK have had to deal with, Australia has been content that Covid wasn’t really going to affect us so much.

The first few months of this year saw maybe 100-200 cases to the end of April nationwide. Possibly less. We had ‘doughnut’ day after doughnut day here in Victoria. That’s no new cases in the community.

Enter the Delta Variant. And things have changed, especially in New South Wales and Sydney. The Premier there wasn’t keen on lockdowns, and didn’t respond quickly, and they are seeing hundreds of cases a day. As a result it spread to Queensland and Victoria, and indeed to South Australia who managed with a quick lockdown to stamp it out.

In Victoria though we needed longer, although we haven’t exceed 29 new cases in a single day. But these outbreaks have FINALLY kick started the vaccination campaign. Because we have been told in no uncertain terms that lockdowns will continue until around 70 percent are vaccinated. Then they will be less likely. It’s not until 80 per cent is reached though that they will be used ‘only as a last resort’.

The good news is that we are now around 30% vaccinated, which considering where we were at the start of July is a huge improvement. That’s FULLY vaccinated. And some are predicting 80% is reachable by Christmas. To me I think we’ll get to a point and then it will slow right down as has been evidenced in the USA, which got to around 47% fast and then the next 3-5% have been really slow. The talk is though that the laws around vaccinations are going to be tough, almost ‘France-like’. Already they have declared you need to be vaccinated by September to working in an aged care home, and companies have declared that their workers will need to be vaccinated to hold onto their jobs. The plan is that from 70% reached (and this is, I should say a figured based on the eligible population rather than the total population) those who are vaccinated will have accesses and privileges that those who are not won’t.

80% is the figure where international travel reopens. One can only imagine tourism operators are pushing for that as soon as possible. So here are my worries. Firstly, I see travel opening up in so many places online at the moment it’s enough to me incredible jealous. Even Thailand is committed to a deadline in a couple of months for opening up to full tourism.

Certainly the threat of the unknown – a new variant for example – is one that plays on my mind. But the governments – state and federal – have been so dependent on lockdowns keeping deaths down that they will look foolish when suddenly we have larger numbers and more deaths. Which is dangerous politically and not a risk they will want to take. But at the same time, they won’t want the damage to the economy to continue either. At it’s WORST in Australia we had two days with over 700 new corona cases nationwide. THE WORST. Well, it’s going, I would suggest, to get much hugher than that. With 80% vaccination, less death as a percentage, less hospitalisations as a percentage, BUT the numbers will be there. How does it manage that?

Tourists are not going to flock to Australia if they still have to quarantine for two weeks. And how that will be approached is not clear. Even returning Australians may still need quarantine in some way, shape or form even if vaccinated. If you are coming to live or study, okay maybe you would be okay with that. But Australia is a long way to come to isolate for 14 days which could be half or more of your holiday. There will be no short stays if this is requirement.

And with some states, the number of cases that has prompted a state-wide lockdown is as low as ONE. I have little faith to be honest that lockdowns won’t happen once we hit 80%. They won’t take the risk. You don’t want to come here and face that possibility. I’m sure that if we had the cases we have today, sure, they wouldn’t, but we can be SURE that the daily case numbers will be significantly higher. What if you are in Australia and they snap the border shut? Well, yes you will be able to leave I imagine, but you don’t want to go through this.

So even once open, Australia wouldn’t be an attractive choice for travel I reckon, because you couldn’t trust you’ll have a smooth experience once here. You certainly will need to be vaccinated and with certain vaccines. No Sputnik V or Sinopharm. So honestly, would YOU take the risk?

I don’t really know if and when we will get to 80% and we will actually see how this is going to play out. But this year I have honestly thought about my future and whether I would not be better off, sometime in the future admittedly, moving permanently overseas because freedom of movement is important to me. At the same time we have done an exceptional job in Australia in minimising the HEALTH impacts directly related to Covid. But there are other impacts too.

As for international travellers, Australia for the next five years make look too much like a risky proposition. And that is going to continue the hurt and pain for tourism operators here who have already copped it very badly. And there won’t be government assistance forever too.

What are your thoughts? Would you travel to Australia when the borders reopen. IF they do lol. (that’s a sad lol). Thanks for reading today. Take care – and May the Journey Never End.

18 thoughts on “Will Travelers ever TRUST Australia Again?

  1. I am not sure if 80% vaccination is even possible. Watching other countries it looks like a wet dream of politicians and some scientists maybe. People always seem to have a different idea. Would I go to Australia once it’s open? Not if I have to have 2 weeks quarantine! That’s for sure! Australia and NZ is way too far and expensive to go there only to spend 2 weeks in quarantine! Right now all tourism seem to be a one huge question mark. Nobody knows when it should be allowed, how to re-start it or what to require from tourists. I think some countries, especially those heavily dependent on tourism, at one point will simply open for all. Just like that. Look how Mexico and some African countries benefited by staying open when the rest of the world closed. I think many other countries will follow them too. After all it’s all about money, right?!

    1. I agree. I don’t think most countries are getting anywhere close to 80% because some people are refusing to get the vaccine. So the concept of “herd mentality” I don’t think is realistic. It’s a pipe dream that won’t happen.

      I think it’s overkill. We were locked down for 4 months in Spain without the hour of exercise that most other European countries allowed. The moment restrictions eased the numbers went crazy. Which makes you wonder: why did we bother? Because there’s idiots everywhere that will undermine anything collective.

      I think some countries have learned and struck a balance. But Australia seems to have gone overboard and I wouldn’t go if all it takes is 1 person getting it to call a lockdown. No way.

      1. well we hope that the move to vaccination instead of lockdown prevents many of the issues that we’ve seen over the last 18 months. In fact our current lockdown continues and looks like it will into October now until we hit the marks. As for reaching the targets, well, new south wales has hit 70% first jabs now, way out ahead but there is no sign that demand is slackening off anywhere at the moment. So if I am hopeful of anything, it’s that those targets will be reached and hopefully a month before Christmas. It is 80% of those over 16 years old, not the entire population. Victoria hasnt had the supply that NSW has had, but is up to 58% first jab and today they had long lines at all the vaccination hubs to get vaccinated. We’ve basically been told we don’t get out of this lockdown until we reach at least 70% fully vaxxed. it’s very motivating! Qantas have set dates for international flights to leave. That’s from December to a limited number of locations including Singapore and Japan. We will see if it happens I guess. It looks like quarantine though for those who return! Possibly in the home. But that I think will really limit those willing to go anywhere.

  2. I think it might be possible to get to 80% here in Australia we have just got to over 51% first dose it is really moving now and state govts are making big promises to the vaccinated on we hit 70 to 80 %. And we will see if there is a drop off but at the moment the rates of people getting vaccinated are still increasing. I imagine that 2 weeks quarantine off vaccinated travellers will not be the case once borders are open for tourism however there may be some requirements and a shorter period of isolation. For sure u will need a vaccination.

  3. It’s incredible that Australia’s been in lockdown since practically the beginning of Covid, almost 18 months ago. Despite how strict the measures were, the number of cases are really low compared to other western countries (e.g. UK, the US) that have flipped-flopped between lockdown and re-openings, which frustrates me, living here in the US. A quick search shows that just barely half of the US population is fully-vaccinated, so 80% fully-vaxxed sounds like a stretch, unless the government basically forces its citizens to do so, or else they can’t travel, go to the movies, etc. Australia is the only (populated) continent that I’ve yet to visit in the world, so we’ll have to see just how things pan out in the next few years to see I could go at all. It’s still on my bucket list!

    1. I think Australia will definitely have a lot of restrictions for a time about what you can and can’t do depending on your vaccination statues. It wont be as severe as France I fancy, but i could be wrong. They are relying on people feeling like they are missing out i think to drive it up as high as 80%

  4. I wouldn’t go anywhere that required a 14 day quarantine. I feel for you Australians with the lockdowns but it beats 600,000+ dead and counting in the good old USA. I admire your discipline.
    I’ve booked trips to Greece and Thailand for October but expect they will get cancelled. Phuket has no quarantine for vaccinated people. We’ll see if that lasts. Take care and good luck to us all as far as future travel.

    1. Good luck with Greece as I know the EU has just changed advice in allowing Americans into Europe. I hope they can go ahead so I can live through your travels! And October isn’t too far away! I would still travel if I had to return to quarantine in the HOME. possibly in a hotel if it wasnt too expensive. but if i was travelling elsewhere, well, thats a different kettle of fish because unless it was a super long holiday it would eat too much into time off. If it was a week, well then that’s a big difference.

  5. As tempted as I am, I’m not leaving Canada this year. The border hassles, quarantine requirements, associated costs are just not worth it to me. Thankfully, domestic restrictions have eased and there’s a lot to explore in this big country.
    Australia has its work cut out, but if Canada is an example, I think you guys can do it. We’re at 73% full vaccinated (of those eligible) and 82% have had at least one dose. We’re starting to crack down hard, “France-like” as you say. Some provinces plan to implement a vaccine passport which will limit access to gyms, restaurants, bars etc to fully vaccinated people only.
    Hang in there!

    1. we are moving at a good pace now. very good pace. However we have since I posted this had a lot more cases in Victoria (and even higher in NSW) of Covid and we are looking at lockdown until at least 70%. I’m actually thinking even if things are open next year I probably wont go abroad, or if i do it will be close by – New Zealand or Indonesia/Singapore or something as a sort of ‘testing out the waters’ so to speak. I’m putting all my travel eggs in the basket of 2023 at this stage.

  6. It is difficult to predict exactly. I hope that when I finally get to come back to Australia not all Australians will have gone abroad at the same time 😉 In my mind I think we will eventually get back to normal. When is the question.

  7. Travelling to Australia is a risky bussineess these days from NZ, you never know if there could be a sudden lockdown like the last one, which means you are stuck in ozzie and cant get back.
    It’s also not feasible to plan a holiday in the traditional sense because you just don’t know whats going to happen next week.

  8. It’s so hard to predict what will happen. Sadly, I also have a hard time imagining that Australia will reach a 70-80% vaccine rate.

    It’s fascinating listening to Australian News sources. Every vaccine side effect makes the headlines and there’s such strong fear-mongering. I just hope the conversation can be changed because the answer to open borders and no lock downs exist: the vaccine!

  9. woobana

    Even with 80% vaccinated the talk is already boosters needed to be fully vaccinated
    There is a weekly limit of how many overseas Australian’s can return, add in limited movement between states plus quarantine requirements. If a tourist can gain entry, movement around is restricted why you would risk it.

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