US downgrades travel warning for Australia

It comes after the Queensland Premier wrote to Donald Trump urging him to revise the warning.

The United States has downgraded its travel warning to Australia, following pleas from Australian politicians.

Last week, the US travel advisory warned travellers to “exercise increased caution” when visiting Australia amid the current bushfire season.

It also warned of poor air quality and advised travellers to “consider postponing your travel plans to areas where air quality is significantly affected by bushfire conditions”.

The US travel advisory has since downgraded the warning to level one, which advises travellers to “exercise normal precautions”.

The revision comes after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wrote to US President Donald Trump urging him to revise the warning.

“The last thing we need is for international tourists to think that the entire country of Australia is not safe to visit,” she wrote.

“We have large parts of our beautiful country that are not affected and would love to welcome American tourists here.

“I urge you to change the travel advice for American tourists looking to visit Australia.”

In a press conference on Sunday (12 January) Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had been in “direct contact at senior levels of the US administration” regarding the matter.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said while the revision is a good first step, he wants the US travel warning back to its original level.

“We want to make it clear that Australia is still very much open for business,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

“Most Australian regions remain unaffected and continue to offer tourists the incredible tourism experiences that our country is known for.”

Birmingham said Australian authorities will continue monitoring travel warnings by other countries.

“Tourism Australia’s representatives and our diplomatic network are also working with travel wholesalers and other partners around the world to address any misunderstandings and help them to continue to sell the many amazing experiences of Australia,” he told the ABC.

“At every step of the recovery we will work closely with the industry on how to not only rebuild infrastructure where required but also to promote Australia in ways that keep the tourists coming and avoid even greater harm being unnecessarily felt by our tourism businesses.”

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