Fully vaccinated Australians could be allowed to travel to Singapore, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom by Christmas if 80 per cent of the population has received the Covid jab.
After a slow start, Australia’s vaccination rollout is ramping up and so are talks of reopening borders, with Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan flagging the possibility of expanding overseas travel options.
He said once Australia reaches phase C of the national plan the federal government would look to formally establish further travel bubbles beyond New Zealand.
"When we get to phase C, where we see 80 per cent are fully vaccinated, outbound international restrictions will be lifted and travel bubbles will be expanded," Mr Tehan told federal parliament on Wednesday.
"So not only will we have travel bubbles with New Zealand but the Pacific Islands, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, the US, the UK are all possibilities that we will be able to extend our travel bubbles to.
"It means dollars in tourism businesses and more importantly it means security for the 660,000 people who are employed in our tourism industry."
Almost one third of Australia’s population aged 16 and over is fully vaccinated, with more than half receiving one dose.
Our national plan will allow Australians to see their loved ones and travel interstate. Once we reach 80% vaccinations we will look to establish further travel bubbles with the Pacific, UK, US and others.https://t.co/4IuUD3ELmQ
— Dan Tehan (@DanTehanWannon) August 25, 2021
What is Phase C?
Under the plan signed off by the National Cabinet, phase C will be triggered when 80 per cent of Australia’s eligible population is fully vaccinated.
Restrictions on outbound Australians and caps on those returning will be lifted under the plan.
It will see a gradual reopening of overseas travel as unrestricted bubbles with Covid safe destinations are established.
Borders will also reopen to travellers from safe countries who have received one of the approved vaccines, and mandatory two-week hotel quarantine requirements will be eased.
Qantas already preparing for overseas travel
Australia’s national carrier Qantas expects to resume flights to some low-risk destinations with high vaccination rates before Christmas.
These include Singapore, Japan, the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce anticipates, on current projections, Australia will hit the 80 per cent vaccination target in December.
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