The positive reactions to NSW’s big international travel news continue, but not all industry figures are happy

The positive reactions to NSW’s big international travel news continue, but not all industry figures are happy

The overall response to the NSW government’s big international travel announcement on Friday has, unsurprisingly, been a very positive one, but not all industry figures are dancing in the street.

The airlines were very quick to respond, with Qantas bringing forward the restart of its international flights by two weeks to 1 November 2021 after the federal and NSW governments confirmed borders will now reopen on that date.

The flying kangaroo will operate up to five return flights a week from Sydney to London, and up to four return flights a week from Sydney to Los Angeles with its Boeing 787 Dreamliners from 1 November. Qantas also noted that more flights will be added to meet demand, if needed.

Singapore Airlines has opened sales on its flights between Singapore and Sydney for eligible customers.

From 1 November, all of the airline’s 17 weekly flights between the two destinations will be available for passenger sales for those that meet the eligibility criteria.

Virgin Australia has extended its booking flexibility to 30 April 2022, with a spokesperson for the airline saying the NSW government’s decision to scrap quarantine requirements for fully-vaxxed travellers was “fantastic news for travellers, the aviation industry and the thousands of businesses and communities in the state who rely on open borders, and the economic injection that tourism provides”.

Keeping with the aviation theme, Holiday Inn Sydney Airport is offering all guests free shuttle bus transfers to Sydney Airport for a limited time in December.

“We wanted to make everyone’s holiday seamless,” said Ben Burns, general manager of Holiday Inn Sydney Airport.

“There are so many other changes with travel these days, but one thing we know we can offer is a memorable start to your holiday in a clean, fresh and inviting way.”

Accommodation Association chair Leanne Harwood said the NSW government’s decision will allow hotels that have stepped up to protect the community to once again return to their primary function.

“Our sector stepped up from the very beginning to protect our communities by supporting the governments’ isolation program in every state and territory so that returning Australians, medical frontline workers and Australia’s most vulnerable had somewhere safe to stay,” she said.

“Our heroes, the amazing people who work in hotels, willingly put their own health on the line to allow this to happen, and their contribution and bravery through this period deserves acknowledgement.”

Accommodation Association chair Leanne Harwood

However, Harwood said the reality is that the ramp to recovery for hotels and accommodation is a long one.

“The loss of skills from the hospitality industry throughout the lockdown periods has meant we don’t currently have a large enough workforce to allow us to quickly open to pre-COVID levels,” she said.

“Without international students and workers, the journey ahead will be a long one, and government support is critical.”

Australian Federation Travel Agents chief executive Dean Long said the association was looking forward to receiving more details on how the NSW government’s international travel restart will roll out practically.

“The elimination of the quarantine requirement is one of the biggest barriers to international visitors wanting to come to Australia, along with airline seat caps,” he said.

“Even with today’s announcement, the runway to recovery for Australia’s travel sector is a long one.

“Australia’s travel agents and businesses have been in hard lockdown for more than 600 days, and until airlines and cruise capacity return to normal levels, which won’t be before the second quarter of 2022, we will continue to be in lockdown.

“The 30,000 Australians who work in Australia’s travel sector and the 3,000 agencies and businesses who employ them urgently need ongoing government help so we can keep providing travelling Australians with the expert support they need.”

Meanwhile, one of the travel industry’s biggest names, Flight Centre supremo Graham “Skroo” Turner (main picture), said the NSW government’s move to scrap quarantine for international travel is “effectively useless to the economy if that doesn’t include foreign tourists”.

“Our clear message is that if Australia doesn’t open up to the world this year, we’ll lose all the high-yielding international tourists we’ve spent years targeting to countries like South Africa, parts of Europe, the Caribbean – and all the other places that are open for no-quarantine tourism,” he told The Australian Financial Review.

His comments come after Prime Minister Scott Morrison clarified NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s announcement, noting that Aussie citizens, residents and their immediate families are the only ones who would be permitted to dodge hotel quarantine – not international tourists.

However, the Cruise Lines Industry Association (CLIA) was full of optimism on Friday, thanks to the NSW Premier’s eagerness to restart the cruise sector, with Perrottet noting that he was “in discussions right now with the federal government” to bring back cruising.

CLIA’s managing director for Australasia, Joel Katz, said that after months of persistence, it’s clear there’s a positive change in the discussions the sector is having with governments around cruising.

“There’s now a clear will to make progress towards a careful resumption of cruise operations in Australia,” he said.

“The latest comments from NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet are very encouraging and so we look forward to having further discussions to ensure this is translated into action.

“Given the progress Australia is making towards reopening borders and reviving travel, it makes no sense to exclude cruising when our industry has committed to the most stringent health protocols to be found anywhere in tourism.”

Latest News

  • Cruise

Seabourn introduces enhanced groups programs for travel advisors

Leading ultra-luxury cruising and expedition travel company, Seabourne, proudly announces the “Seabourn Enhanced Groups Program” to elevate business prospects for travel advisors. This program introduces a revamped Tour Conductor Credit that offers shipboard credits or bonus commission for bookings. It also eliminates the need for deposits for small group allotments and increases group capacity. “Seabourn […]

  • Cruise

MSC World America to become the ultimate family destination at sea

MSC Cruises’ latest world-class ship is set to redefine family cruising with unprecedented spaces and activities, including ones developed in partnership with the LEGO® group. The cruise line announced that its new flagship will feature seven distinct districts, each bringing together a range of tailored experiences. The ship’s blend of American comfort and European design […]

  • Cruise

Ponant’s latest luxury cruise expeditions for 2024 and 2025

Head out to see the beauty of unique destinations on three bucket-list explorations of Australia with Ponant Cruise’s new luxury expeditions. Known for their luxury cruises, Ponant offers unique and truly exceptional sea voyage aboard sleek and intimately sized cruise yachts. They offer a range of discovery expeditions, and launched new cruises that take guests […]

  • News

Liz Anderson steps down from CATO Board after eight years of leadership

The Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) has today announced that Liz Anderson (at right) will be stepping down from the Board on Wednesday June 19, concluding her eight years as a director. “The eight years that Liz served on the CATO board were the most transformative time in the Association’s history,” CATO Chair Dennis […]

  • Attractions

Comedian Josh Thomas road tests swapping day job for Tassie odd jobs

Australians are invited to tap into a 200-million-day annual leave bank* and swap day jobs for one of 10 ‘Odd Jobs’ in Tasmania this off-season including Wombat Walker, Paranormal Investigator, Wine Whisperer and Truffler Snuffler. Tourism Tasmania has today launched Odd Jobs, a tongue-in-cheek campaign designed to encourage Australians to swap their day jobs for […]

  • Aviation
  • News

Christine O’Reilly to replace Peter Hay as chair of Australia Pacific Airports Corporation

Christine O’Reilly has been named as the new chair of Australia Pacific Airports Corporation (APAC) – the owner of Melbourne and Launceston Airports. According to a release, O’Reilly will replace Peter Hay on 1 October, who retires after five years as Chair of APAC. APAC CEO Lorie Argus said O’Reilly’s appointment comes at an exciting […]

  • Tourism

The number one thing you can’t forget if you’re going to Europe & The Olympics

As the Summer Olympics in Paris draws near, travel insurance comparison site Compare the Market is urging travellers to safeguard their European summer sports dreams by getting travel insurance for when the unexpected happens. While France seems like a decently safe country to visit, it’s crucial not to overlook the potential risks that could disrupt a holiday. From bed […]

  • Destinations
  • Partner Content

The Solomon Islands’ is ‘Kulture-plus’

Be grateful that your experience of 'headhunting' is limited to some random dude reaching out to you on LinkedIn.

Partner Content

by Travel Weekly

Travel Weekly
  • Cruise

Cruise Traveller’s new Scottish Highlands cruise tour package

Australian small ship cruising specialist, Cruise Traveller, offers a 20-night land and sea holiday in the UK aboard the Lord of the Glens. The tiny cruise line’s 52-guest boutique vessel, Lord of the Glens, is purpose-built to explore the intricate waterways and lochs of the Scottish Highlands. It boasts a rich, traditional ambience with polished […]

  • Cruise

Celebrity Xcel’s keel-laying ceremony in France, with 2025 inaugural sail planned

Construction has commenced on Celebrity Cruises’ next ship, Celebrity Xcel, with a keel-laying ceremony at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. An Edge Series ship, Celebrity Xcel will set sail in autumn 2025, with several new yet-to-be-revealed offerings. At the ceremony, Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group (RCG), the parent […]

  • Destinations
  • Tour Operators

Globus unveils nine new independent tours for 2025

Coach touring brand Globus has unveiled nine new independent tours for 2025, from Bangkok to Bali and Abu Dhabi to Nepal. “With Globus Independent tours, our guests are free to enjoy the many benefits of touring, untethered and unscheduled,” APAC head of marketing, Globus family of brands (GFOB), Chris Fundell said. “Providing hand-picked hotel accommodations, […]

  • Hotels

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group opens Mandarin Oriental Mayfair

The Mandarin Oriental has opened a second property in London, the Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, in the heart of historic Hanover Square. Designed by internationally renowned Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, the hotel is the first new build in Mayfair in over a decade. Bringing a modern architectural approach to one of London’s most storied squares, […]