International travel ban could continue until 2021

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham says 'we could be in this circumstance for quite some period of time'.

In grim news for the tourism and events sector, Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has warned international travel may be off the cards until 2021.

In a television appearance on ABC News Breakfast over the weekend, Birmingham was asked whether overseas travel would be allowed in December.

“I wouldn’t put any guarantees that you could undertake that overseas trip in December,” he said.

“December’s a long time away and it’s very hard to make predictions about what will happen then, but we could be in this circumstance for quite some period of time.”

Birmingham added, despite Australia’s success at slowing the spread of COVID-19, international travel may not resume for some time.

“The success we are having in terms of slowing the spread of the virus in Australia does mean that we could be at risk in terms of exposure to people from overseas in countries who have not controlled it so well, for quite some period of time,” he said.

While international travel is off the cards for now, Birmingham encouraged Australians to start planning future domestic trips.

“There may be a slightly earlier point in time where it becomes feasible to think about domestic travel again,” he said.

“We’re not there yet but certainly this time is a good time for a bit of dreaming, planning, thinking about the Aussie break that you might take when we finally get to the other side of this.”


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