Australia has opened its international borders to all vaccinated tourists On Monday, nearly two years after the nation first imposed some of the world’s strictest COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The first to arrive was a Qantas flight from Los Angeles to Sydney at 6:20 am local time, followed by arrivals from Tokyo, Vancouver, and Singapore.
“It’s fair to say we’ve all been waiting a long time to welcome visitors back to Australia,” says Alan Joyce, chief executive for Qantas, Australia’s flag carrier.
Joyce said the airline expects to bring more than 14,000 passengers into Australia this week – the start of what many believe will be a long, slow recovery for a tourism sector devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think we’re going to see a very, very strong rebound,” Australia Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said.
Though only 56 international flights have been scheduled to land in Australia in the next 24 hours, far below pre-pandemic levels, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he has “no doubt” the number would scale up in time.
The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs published a checklist for travelers listing the entry requirements for eligible tourists, including proof of full vaccination, negative pre-arrival test results within 72 hours before departure, and a complete Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) 72 hours before arrival.
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