“The virus doesn’t have a nationality”: Global Work & Travel CEO urges government to open international border

“The virus doesn’t have a nationality”: Global Work & Travel CEO urges government to open international border

The head of a prominent e-commerce youth work and travel company has backed calls from major travel and tourism industry bodies for the Federal Government to open Australia’s international borders to tourists.

Global Work & Travel CEO and co-founder, Jürgen Himmelmann has joined the growing number of travel industry folk calling on the government to allow tourists back into the country.

Himmelmann said while it was good to see that Australians could now enter and leave the country, it “made no sense” to keep the border closed to international tourists.

“The tourism sector has been closed to international tourists for just under two years now and much of the rest of the world has been allowing overseas visitors back in,” he said.

“Opening the international borders to at least the fully vaccinated should be a government priority right now. And the reality is that the Omicron variant is well and truly out in the Australian community, so what’s the point in keeping our borders closed? It makes no sense.

“The virus doesn’t have a nationality, it’s the same thing everywhere these days. It’s time to move forward.”

Peak tourism bodies including the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) and the Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) have been calling on the federal government to end all ongoing border restrictions in Australia so the tourism sector can begin to recover.

The Gold Coast-based company has international offices in London and Vancouver and is regarded as an industry leader in youth and general travel.

Himmelmann said other countries have begun to open up, with the UK and Norway both shedding themselves of restrictions preventing international tourism over the past week.

“Canada has been open to international tourists for six months now and, because of this, we’ve actually been rebooking working holidaymakers who’ve wanted to come to Australia, and getting them over to jobs in Canada instead,” he said.

“Canada has been allowing working holidaymakers in for most of the pandemic, as long as they had work permits. Tourists may have initially been prevented from entering, but the working travellers turned their attention to Canada instead.

“The reality is that we’re competing with the likes of Canada to attract working holidaymakers to help fill the tens of thousands of unfilled jobs in Australia. They’ll be instrumental in filling chronic labour shortages.

“In the UK, restrictions have been lifted for all incoming visitors and they won’t be requiring people arriving to test.”

Himmelmann said travellers of all types want to travel with confidence and not have the potential for borders to close again or quarantine to be re-introduced.

“This is all too late for the many tourism and hospitality businesses that have hit the wall during the border closures, but common sense surrounding the opening of our borders will save more operations from going under, which obviously results in job losses,” he added.

“The damage is done, it’s time to let these small business owners breathe again.”

The news followed the launch of a new product suite from Global Work & Travel aimed at the growing market for study and self-improvement.

The company is hoping to broaden its customer base from a predominantly younger demographic, releasing 13 international packages under its “Study” division for travellers aged between 18 and 85.

The trips include learning Japanese in Tokyo, Kyoto and Fukuoka; Spanish in Valencia and Costa Rica; Italian in Bologna; tango and photography (separately) in Buenos Aires; coffee making and cooking (separately) in Florence; and two separate marine science and scuba courses in False Bay, South Africa.

Featured image: Jurgen Himmelmann supplied)

Latest News

  • News

It’s not just skiing you have to worry about! Travel insurer warns Aussies about the perils of sports abroad

With a few major sporting events just around the corner, and the snow season in the southern hemisphere approaching, Aussies might be feeling inspired to get outside and unleash their inner athlete. However, Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) is urging holidaymakers to ensure they have adequate travel insurance coverage if they’re planning on taking part […]

  • Destinations
  • Hotels

Delamore Lodge unveils newly refurbished accommodation

Delamore Lodge, Waiheke Island’s exclusive boutique luxury hideaway, has unveiled the newly refurbished Ataahua Owners Villa. While Ataahua means “beautiful”, the owners villa is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment that offers complete privacy and self-contained luxury. The master bedrooms have sweeping views of the Hauraki Gulf waters, spacious super-king beds, ensuites with rainforest showers, and generous […]

  • Food & Beverage
  • Hotels

Hilton Honors extends its dine Like a Member promotion

Hilton Honors has extended its dine “Like a Member” promotion, allowing guests to get up to 25 per cent off on participating outlets in hotels and resorts within their portfolio. The offer is in effect until 31 December 2024 in all Hilton properties, excluding those in the Maldives, French Polynesia and outlets within Hampton hotels […]

  • Events
  • Tour Operators

ITE HCMC 2024 focuses on sustainable tourism for creating a future

The 18th annual International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City (ITE HCMC) will take place from 5 to 7 September at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center. Under the theme “Responsible Travel, Creating Future”, the expo will highlight its dedication to promoting sustainable tourism practices and showcasing innovative tourism products and services to meet rigorous […]

  • Appointments

Seasoned pro Chris Waite goes out on his own in corporate affairs & communications

Seasoned tourism and hospitality industry corporate affairs and communications professional Chris Waite has unveiled his new consultancy. Drawing on his 25 years of experience across Australia, Europe, and Asia, Chris Waite Corporate Affairs & Communications is dedicated to helping businesses build and safeguard their most valuable asset: their reputation. Waite will focus on delivering results through […]

  • News

Travel becomes the leading retirement priority in latest Equip Super research

A staggering 71 per cent of Australians are prioritising spending their retirement savings on travel, according to a recent survey by leading superannuation fund, Equip Super. Health concerns were ranked as second as the most significant priority in retirement with 56 per cent and spending on hobbies and interests takes the third spot at 54 […]

  • Aviation
  • Technology

SITA wins Heathrow Airport’s confidence with contract extension for network infrastructure solutions

Global leader in air transport technology, SITA, signed a five-year extension with Heathrow Airport to support its vast and growing network infrastructure. The agreement sees SITA providing a wide range of network, telecommunications, and connectivity services, while introducing innovative new solutions to business operating within Heathrow. SITA has built a strong relationship with Heathrow since […]