International and interstate travel is opening across Australia, although each State has different dates or vaccination thresholds for quarantine-free travel. Right now, Australians are booking travel for work, leisure and family reunions for Christmas and throughout 2022.
Western Australians are also expected to head overseas and interstate as WA borders open sometime in 2022. However, WA will struggle to replace our local staff and tourists with interstate and international arrivals as bookings are lost to States which have dates for quarantine-free travel.
NSW, ACT & VIC Interstate Visitors and Staff
All States except WA have set dates to open to NSW, ACT and VIC for quarantine-free travel for vaccinated interstate visitors. South Australia will open first on November 23, followed by TAS on December 15 and QLD on December 17. All States (except WA and possibly NT) will be in a quarantine-free travel bubble before Christmas.
Airlines have increased interstate flights to open States. These States are now actively recruiting interstate staff and attracting interstate tourists for 2022. Airlines are not making increased interstate services for WA available until about 1 February 2022 although there is no certainty that these services will go ahead. This means WA will struggle to recruit staff and attract or retain visitor bookings for 2022 from the major states until a prospective date is set for WA.
Potential Border Closures - SA, NT, QLD, TAS
WA is currently open for quarantine-free travel from SA, NT, QLD and TAS. The Premier has flagged potential border closures to those States. TCWA understand that border closures will not be automatically implemented when those States open. However, the inevitable COVID-19 transmission to those States from NSW, ACT & VIC, or inbound returning Australians, may trigger WA closing quarantine-free travel to those States. We do not know if a border closure would be triggered by a single case of community transmission or a larger outbreak. This means interstate bookings from SA, NT, QLD and TAS may be lost due to border closures between Christmas 2021 and when WA opens to quarantine interstate travel sometime in 2022.
Australians will be able to travel overseas from November 1. Quarantine arrangements for returning Australians will depend on each State. Fully vaccinated Australians will be able return to NSW and VIC without quarantining from November 1. Since the announcement, airlines have brought forward international flights and are receiving significant bookings for outbound travel from Australians. This is expected to reduce domestic demand for WA tourism in 2022, including intrastate demand by Western Australians for regional travel.
International Inbound – Students, Workers, Backpackers, Event Talent
There are no definite dates, but international students and other economic visa holders are expected to be the first to start arriving in late 2021 or very early 2022. Fully vaccinated international arrivals are expected to be quarantine-free in NSW and VIC. These states will be pursuing international student enrolments for the 2022 academic year. This means WA will struggle to recruit international workers, students, backpackers, event talent, etc, until a date for quarantine-free international arrivals to WA are announced.
International Inbound – Tourists
The Federal Government has not yet set a date for international tourist visa arrivals. Once a date is announced, States with quarantine-free international arrivals will attract international tourist bookings. Most States have announced a date or threshold for quarantine-free international arrivals which will see them open to international tourists by December 2021. WA will struggle to attract or retain international bookings if the Federal Government announces a date for international tourist arrivals before a date is announced for quarantine-free travel to WA.