Australia Won't Welcome Foreign Visitors Until Next Year, Prime Minister Says

"We will get to international visitors as well, I believe next year," PM Scott Morrison said.

Australia won't reopen its borders to foreign tourists until at least next year, the country's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday.

The country, which has one of the strictest COVID-19 travel policies in the world, has been closed to much of the globe since March 2020. While Australia has made plans to allow fully-vaccinated Australian citizens to travel internationally next month, Morrison has merely hinted at a timeline for international tourists.

"We will get to international visitors as well, I believe next year," Morrison told The Associated Press.

On Nov. 14, Australian airline Qantas plans to restart international flights, including between Australia and the United Kingdom and the United States. When it does, the carrier will require passengers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding.

But following the lifting of travel restrictions on vaccinated Australians, Morrison told the AP that skilled migrants and international students would be the next priority, not international tourists.

Currently, anyone who does go to Australia for an accepted reason must quarantine for two weeks in a hotel. When the country reopens its borders to vaccinated Australians, they will be allowed to instead complete a 7-day quarantine at home, according to Morrison's office.

A silent departures forecourt outside the International Terminal at Kingsford Smith Airport on September 15, 2021 in Sydney, Australia.
James D. Morgan/Getty Images

While most tourism has been shut down, Australia did open a two-way travel bubble with neighboring New Zealand before it was suspended in July due to rising COVID-19 cases.

Australia isn't alone in barring most international tourists. New Zealand has also closed its borders to much of the world and requires nearly all arrivals to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel. Starting Nov. 1, the country will also require all arriving passengers to be fully vaccinated.

For its part, the U.S. plans to lift travel restrictions on many vaccinated foreign visitors in November, requiring them to also show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of boarding a flight.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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