Travel agents welcome Queensland decision to open international gates

THE Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has welcomed the Queensland Government’s announcement that fully vaccinated international arrivals would be able to enter without quarantine from 1am on Saturday, January 22.
Rather than having to quarantine, fully vaccinated arrivals will be required to have a rapid antigen test (RAT) within 24 hours of arrival. Unvaccinated international travellers who have Commonwealth approval to enter Australia will be required to quarantine for 14 days in a Queensland Government nominated facility. 
Australian Federation of Travel Agents CEO Dean Long said, “The Queensland Government’s decision to allow fully vaccinated international arrivals to enter the state without having to quarantine but instead take a RAT within 24 hours of arrival is a very welcome step toward travel returning to normal.
“The return to more normal international travel conditions for vaccinated international arrivals into Queensland brings another important tourism market back on line globally. We thank Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Tourism, Stirling Hinchcliffe for providing a firm date for this which AFTA has been seeking for some time.

"This also provides an incentive for Queenslanders who have not been fully vaccinated, to get the jab and move to a living with COVID mindset which includes holidaying domestically and internationally," Mr Long said.
“But it’s a long runway to recovery for Australia’s travel retailers. Australia’s travel agents and businesses have been in hard lockdown for almost 700 days and, with no end in sight, we need the Federal Government to provide financial support so we can continue to support travelling Australians.

"Travellers need travel experts now more than ever and the percentage of all international travel out of Australia booked through travel professionals is rapidly rising from the seven in every 10 bookings pre-COVID.
“Australia is only going to have a healthy inbound travel sector if our outbound sector is also healthy and that’s not going to happen without ongoing support until international travel returns to normal," Mr Long said.
“There’s still no clear roadmap for cruise re-opening, international and domestic air is and will be significantly constrained for some time and 53 percent of bookings are using existing credits which require additional support from agents for little revenue. This will not normalise before mid 2022.”


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