Tasmania is aiming to reopen its border to Victorian travellers ahead of schedule, so long as “The Garden State” manages to keep a lid on COVID-19.
Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein announced yesterday that Australia’s southernmost state is aiming to let Victorians travel there quarantine-free from Friday 27 November, ahead of the original earmarked date of Tuesday 1 December.
However, the Gutwein said the accelerated border reopening will be “subject to matters remaining on track in Victoria and there being no further issues of significant concern”.
“Victoria is our closest neighbour and home to so many of our friends and families, and many friends and family of Tasmanians overall,” he said.
“It’s been very hard on many people, I understand, not being able to see them.”
From this Friday, the Tasmanian government will classify Victoria as a medium-risk jurisdiction, which means incoming travellers from the state can conduct their 14 days quarantine at home or a designated residence, if appropriate, rather than in a hotel.
Tasmania started welcoming travellers from Queensland, the ACT, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory last month. However, it wasn’t until last Friday that NSW travellers were considered low-risk and allowed to enter.
Virgin Australia welcomed the Tasmanian government’s border announcement, with a spokesperson saying it will allow the airline to bring more staff back to work and customers the opportunity to reunite with friends and family this Christmas.
“We are reintroducing four-times-weekly services between Melbourne-Hobart and Melbourne-Launceston from 27 November, and by mid-December, these flights will operate daily,” the spokesperson said.
“From Brisbane, we are also reintroducing twice-weekly services between Brisbane-Launceston from 23 November.
“We are seeing a lot of pent-up demand for Christmas and summer holiday travel, which is why we’re encouraging customers to book early.”
Tasmania’s Budget commitments to tourism industry
The Tasmanian government has also announced a number of funding measures as part of its 2020-21 State Budget that will no doubt give its tourism industry a much-needed boost.
They include $6 million for the continued delivery of traveller assessment and border control across the state, along with the continued operation of the G2G PASS app and Tas e-Travel systems.
The Tasmanian government has also committed $5.15 million towards the expansion of the Launceston Airport departures and arrivals terminals, along with $1 million over two years to support the establishment of a new not-for-profit Registered Training Organisation for the tourism and hospitality industry.
Featured image source: iStock/Alexwise