Australians Have Been Encouraged to Start Dreaming of and Planning Domestic Holidays
But the Federal Tourism Minister has warned that international travel could be off the cards until 2021.
While many states and territories have closed their borders and all Australians are advised against any non-essential travel, Australia's Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has said now is the time to start "dreaming of" and "planning" domestic holidays.
During an interview on Sunrise this morning, Monday, April 13, Birmingham thanked Australians for staying at home, saying, "it has been critical for slowing the spread of the virus and it will remain critical for some time to come". Just when these restrictions will be eased, though, is up to Australia's "medical officials and health experts", Birmingham said.
But in between studying and "bingeing Netflix", Birmingham is encouraging Australians to: "undertake a little bit of dreaming, a bit of little planning, so those who can afford to, who will be in a position to, can get out and help an Australian tourism business when we get to the other side of this."
Because of COVID-19, Australia's tourism industry — an industry that was already hit hard by this year's bushfires — is losing out on an estimated $9 billion a month, according to Tourism and Trade Forum.
Birmingham said state travel restrictions could be lifted before international travel ones, which he has hinted may be in place until 2021. When asked by the ABC about booking a hypothetical overseas trip in December, Birmingham said: "I wouldn't put any guarantees that you could undertake that overseas trip in December".
For now, both the international travel ban and local non-essential travel regulations remain in place, with police in NSW, Victoria and Queensland handing out fines for those leaving home without a valid reason. You can currently only leave your home to shop for food and other essential supplies; for medical care or compassionate reasons; to exercise, in-line with the two-person limit; and for work or education if you cannot work or learn remotely.
To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.
Image: Tourism Events Queensland
Published on April 13, 2020 by Samantha Teague